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Dorset ICS plans overhaul of data architecture

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The Dorset Integrated Care System (ICS) is planning a major redesign of the data architecture for the health and care system in the county.

It has published a market notice for private sector support in the initiative, saying it wants to review the current integration and interoperability landscape within NHS Dorset and propose a target architecture to help realise its strategic digital objective.

The move reflects the situation facing newly formed ICSs in England, with their responsibility to co-ordinate care between a number of organisations that have developed their own data architectures and technology estates over the years.

The Dorset notice says the existing architecture within each organisation in the ICS has evolved over more than 20 years, with their own systems, standards, data models and protocols. This is hindering progress in the integration of care in the county.

“The overall ICS data architecture is fragmented and inconsistent and requires much effort to develop and maintain,” it says. “Because of the current approach, many side effects are being felt, such as poor data quality, multiple versions of the truth, information silos, poor governance, inconsistent semantics, complex over-engineered solutions and security and access issues, to name a few.

“It is also felt that the current approach will not support the future aspirations of the ICS in areas such as advanced analytics, machine learning and AI.

“The Dorset ICS would like to explore an alternative approach, using modern technologies and emerging industry standards, which supports our EPR system ambitions and address the issues above whilst providing a robust platform that is fit for the future.”

Hospital interoperability

It also highlights the need to improve interoperability between the county’s GPs, Dorset County Hospital, University Hospitals Dorset and Dorset HealthCare, the county’s mental healthcare trust. It does not, however, make specific reference to local authorities or social care providers.

Dorset does have one of the longest established regional shared care records, which combines information from local councils and NHS bodies. It was recently connected to two hospices with another to be incorporated soon.



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