Interoperability should be top priority for NHS, report says

By Jamie Thompson
02:33 PM

The Interoperability Toolkit (ITK), a set of standards and guidelines intended to help the NHS across England to connect health IT systems, is touted as an important resource in bringing about interoperability in the region. A new report co-authored by Paul Cooper, IMS MAXIMS Head of Research, titled We Should Talk: Interoperability and the NHS, delves into this topic.

The report recognizes the benefits of the ITK, such as its ability to ensure results at a local level. But it recommends that more needs to be done to engage suppliers and that many people still need to be persuaded to accept interoperability.

“An efficient healthcare system, which delivers the best for patients and makes effective use of resources, can only exist if data can be shared within and between organisations," Cooper noted. "The good news is that these problems can be overcome and that everyone within the healthcare IT sector accepts that interoperability is the way forward. But too many people in the NHS still see interoperability as a technical matter rather than something which allows them to do their jobs better.”

Closer and more productive links need to be established between the NHS and other stakeholders for the ITK to be a successful enterprise.

“The ITK initiative must do more to persuade everyone from medical and nursing directors, to FDs and CEOs that this is a mission-critical issue. Suppliers provide what trusts ask for, and interoperability will only get to the top of the agenda if it’s central to what the customer demands,” said Cooper.

The full report can be found here.

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