Health and care staff are continually making decisions that influence the quality of care for patients, and it is therefore essential that staff – whichever setting they work in – can see a patient’s relevant history.
The NHS has a long history of difficulties with interoperability – sharing information – across the many settings that make up the health and care system and this has now become a greater challenge as we move into the era of integrated care systems (ICSs).
Now more than ever, it is essential that digital systems enable seamless communication across health and care settings to underpin the integration of health and care services in a way that improves experiences for both patients and staff. The Digital technologies and interoperability: enabling the future of integrated care research project, currently under way at The King’s Fund, has found that there is a need for health and care leaders to communicate about why interoperability is important, to clarify expectations and to create transparency throughout the system to enable accessible ways of sharing information and communicating to thrive.
At this free online event, we discussed the term ‘interoperability’ and drew on examples of good interoperability in practice to explore how it can benefit patients, staff, and wider communities.
Interoperability is the technical term used to describe the flow of information – about decisions made and care that has been or is being provided – across care settings. Good interoperability facilitates the best care in the best place with decisions made using all available information.
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Professor Sam ShahHon. NHS Consultant, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and Chief Medical Officer, Numan
Ian TownendChief Architect (Enterprise Architecture), Transformation Directorate, NHS England
Dr Chris BatesDirector of Research and Analytics, TPP
Julia MillmanProgramme Manager, Yorkshire and Humber Care Record, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust
Savi CartwrightStrategic Clinical Services Information Management & Technology Consultant, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System