Interoperability and the INTEROPen charter

Open standards. These are principles that OLM understands and encourages. We were the first social care supplier to sign up to the TechUK interoperability charter, the first social care supplier to gain accreditation to the MIG Gateway and this year, we have signed up to the INTEROPen charter. We believe that open standards are the future and suppliers should adopt these practices in order to provide customers with the best experience possible.

Over the past few years there have been a number of publications that have highlighted the pressing need to make care systems interoperable. Publications such as the techUK Interoperability Charter, the National Information Board 2020 strategy and numerous King’s fund reports have emphasised the importance of interoperability.

What is the INTEROPen charter?

At the end of 2015, a community was created called the ‘Code4Health Interoperability Community’. It consisted of eight founding members. These founding members came together with the same desire to encourage interoperability delivery. They found that encouraging interoperability delivery via a series of action groups was the best approach to take. These groups are formed by community members and the latest of these groups is INTEROPen, which has the support of the Code4Health board members, TechUK, NHS England and NHS Digital (HSCIC).

Having suppliers involved from the start adds an extra level of authenticity to the implementation process of interoperability. Previously, standards were designed, approved and handed to suppliers with poor results genuinely emerging. More successful implementations have included suppliers from the start, as they are the ones with the best experience to steer standards.

The INTEROPen group

The main focus of the group will revolve around the development of application programming interfaces (APIs) and the promotion of Conectathons. These events will help accelerate the use of open standards across Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). All of these activities will take part during each suppliers own time and emphasises the importance of interoperability and working towards open standards.

One of the founding members recently conducted an interview with Digital Health News regarding the nature of the INTEROPen Group and the reason for its inception. Paul Cooper, Research Director at IMS Maxims told Digital News: “This is a new group, created as a sub-group of Code4Health, it is open to all suppliers committed to the promotion of open standards.”

Another member of the founding group, Amir Mehrkar, Chief Clinical Information Officer for Orion Health, added: “Code4Health has a number of sub-groups and suppliers are involved in each of those. As suppliers, we felt we needed our own forum. Interoperability will only take place if we drive it and we felt we needed our own forum to drive discussions and work together.”

Call to action

After seeing the call to action that the group sent out to suppliers, OLM answered, our passion and dedication to open standards made the decision almost obsolete. Making social care systems interoperable helps to improve the lives of people in the UK. It is one of the founding principles of OLM, to support the transformation of the care sector through intelligent software platforms and services. For 25 years, we have worked directly with local authorities to find the best solution to the problems they are facing. We believe in making life easier and put the user at the centre of everything that we do. This is why we believe in adopting open standards as they make a difference.

Kevin Payne, MD of OLM Systems commented:

“For the past five years we have been shifting our focus towards open APIs and ensuring that the software we produce adheres to open standards. We feel as though this is the direction that all suppliers should be heading as it helps to improve the lives of citizens and that is why we are all here.

Our commitment to open standards is re-enforced by our adoption of the TechUk interoperability and INTEROPen charter. We will continue to aggressively pursue open systems and APIs for the benefit of all.”

For more information on interoperability and open standards, please contact us today, our dedicated team will be happy to help you.