HL7 delivers healthcare interoperability standards

News Article

This eHealth Insider editorial (see below) suggests that CfH could be moving towards a stringent standardisation strategy based on interoperability between locally chosen systems.

In the last three years there has been much work done by CFH and other HL7 UK members to mature the HL7v3 and CDA standards in ways that help meet NHS needs. This work will be a vital underpinning to any such stringent standardisation.

The renewed emphasis on wide-scale standards implementation is a challenge that HL7 UK is keen to rise to, and there will be sessions at the April Working Meeting looking at what suppliers and integrators need from the standards community to ease the adoption process.

E-Health Insider Editorial 

March 2 2007
Issue No 265

This week E-Health Insider exclusively reports that plans for drawing up a catalogue of additional suppliers appear to be at an advanced stage within Connecting for Health (CfH), and could be run along similar lines to the GP Systems of Choice procurement launched two weeks ago.

Although nothing is concrete at this stage EHI has been told that an announcement on an additional supplier catalogue is "in the pipeline". Sources indicate that CfH has come under growing pressure to meet the clinical and business needs of its NHS 'customers', and above all to become relevant to them. To support clinical care and meet imperatives such as 18-week waits CfH needs to bring leading specialist clinical software suppliers into a new 'big tent' approach.

If, and it remains a big if, the way ahead is now based on interoperability and local systems of choice potentially plugged into standardised foundations provided by the LSPs then it is a final admission that plan A has largely failed. At the outset of the National Programme for IT the alternative of accrediting and funding a range of interoperable specialist systems, adhering to core standards, was rejected in favour of high risk development of standardised software development projects.

There have been successes, notably on infrastructure and PACS, but the question remains: what could a stringent standardisation strategy based on interoperability rather than single systems have achieved in three years with similar levels of funding? That opportunity has gone, but hopefully it's not too late to change tack.

Last modified 12/09/07