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System C & Graphnet Care Alliance announces a full FHIR support programme

7th September 2018

The System C & Graphnet Care Alliance today announced a major adoption of the FHIR interfacing standard to make easier the sharing of health and care information and to stimulate digital innovation.

The companies are launching cloud-based platforms which offer customers and authorised third parties a package of open APIs using FHIR-based standards. The APIs will be available in a rolling programme right across all Care Alliance products – including shared care records, child health, EPR, and social care solutions.

First to be launched is Graphnet’s open interoperability platform, offering FHIR APIs to the CareCentric shared record software. CareCentric is the country’s most widely-used record system, bringing together information from right across primary, secondary, community, mental health and social care sectors and information held in Personal Health Records (PHRs).

It underpins England’s biggest and most high-profile record systems, such as those in Greater Manchester, Berkshire, Hampshire, Cheshire and Buckinghamshire. Graphnet’s interoperability platform will give customers secure access to the wealth of realtime
and near real-time information held in the CareCentric shared care record and provide a standard for integration with other healthcare applications. It will be available to the all company’s shared record customers, including Local Health and Care Record Exemplars (LHCREs).

This will allow for record sharing across organisational boundaries, linking one shared record system with another and creating a framework for open application development. It will also enable the CareCentric shared record to become an integration and open application platform, encouraging innovative new apps and new uses to help drive improvements in patient care and in managing the health of a population.

The System C & Graphnet Care Alliance FHIR programme will consist of a rolling sequence of releases. Next off the line will be social care, child health, vitals, clinical collaboration, alerts, connectivity for third-party patient facing apps, and a range of API packages for the Care Alliance’s PAS, EPR and clinical systems.

For social care, Liquidlogic is generating the nine FHIR messages necessary for hospital assessments, discharges and withdrawal notices. These are being implemented with four councils by March 2019.

“Graphnet and System C’s products have always been highly interoperable. We interface or interoperate with over 2,000 deployed systems across the UK,” said Dr Ian Denley, joint CEO of the System C & Graphnet Care Alliance. “What FHIR brings is a national standard set of messages for use right across the NHS and social care, and this will be a major step forward in delivering the joined-up care needed to improve patient outcomes.

“We were a founder member of HL7 UK in 2000 and we believe that the progressive release of FHIR standards by NHS England will have a similar positive impact on APIs as HL7 did on standard interfacing.”

The large-scale adoption of FHIR is being delivered on top of System C and Graphnet’s internal APIs which are already widely used for integration across the Care Alliance product range, and which will be brought into line with national standards as they are released under a standard licensing arrangement. The FHIR programme will provide an extensive package of FHIR services and a robust and secure framework for open access.

This framework includes:

  • a profiles library which will be published internationally so that software houses in the
    UK and across the world will be able to develop products connecting to System C and
    Graphnet solutions. The APIs will be based on FHIR standards and conform to
    PRSB/NHS Digital/INTEROpen profiles.

  • test sandpits and accreditation services to ensure that applications connected to
    services are well-behaved and secure

  • developer and user support services

All of these services will be tested with the initial set of APIs released for licence by the end of the year. The entire rollout programme will take around 24 months to complete.

Brian Waters, chief executive of Graphnet, explained that Graphnet FHIR support builds on its existing APIs, originally developed for internal use. “This is a well-proven path for us. The FHIR messages are simply an extension of our work of the last three years. We are now finalising the delivery schedule for the FHIR resources and will release these in a rolling programme as and when they are formalised and published by NHS England, with the first releases available this financial year.”

Beverley Bryant, chief operating officer at System C & Graphnet Care Alliance, said: “The drive for interoperability between our systems and third parties has been steadily growing as our users across health and social care expand their adoption of health
technologies. The FHIR programme will offer customers an extensive package of FHIR services and a robust and secure framework for open access as part of the product catalogue.

“This move to FHIR, and the very clear commitment to interoperability from the Secretary of State Matt Hancock, will bring a welcome sense of order to the market.

“We are writing to all our customers and will be meeting with them to discuss the level of supporting services required, including timescales for individual API packages and pricing models.”