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LGA highlights standards and APIs in social care IT


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Local Government Association (LGA) has urged councils to push for the adoption of standards and APIs by IT suppliers to improve the exchange of information for better social care of people discharged from hospital.

It is one of a number recommendations emerging from a programme investigating the issue, which have been outlined by Mark Golledge (pictured), digital lead for care and health at the LGA.

Speaking at UKAuthority’s Digital Health and Social Care Conference on Friday, Golledge said: “We’ve been doing some work with a few councils this year that explores what it means to support people leaving hospital and receiving care at home.

“There are lots of challenges around people not receiving the information they need, such as what is the care agency coming in, when is it coming, and not realising they are potentially going to have to pay for care at some stage.

“It looks at what does it really mean for us to bring information together from different systems and make it accessible in a more personalised way so people can access it through the device or application they want.”

The LGA has done some work through the Local Health and Care Record Exemplar programme in partnership with public sector IT association Socitm, which has involved talking with councils, systems suppliers and national organisations.

Golledge highlighted a number of emerging recommendations, including supporting the adoption of standards by suppliers within contracts to facilitate learning between councils.

This would be accompanied by councils working with suppliers to encourage greater transparency over open APIs that have been developed and where they are being applied in practice.

Need for clarity

Other recommendations are around providing greater clarity around information sharing guidelines, particularly in the use and linking of health data, and developing use cases focused on social care that encourage collaborative working across councils and provide the basis for adopting standards.

Golledge said a report on the work is due to be published soon and added that there are also local initiatives going on to deal with specific issues. These include Sunderland in using open APIs to collect data from home devices, and Nottinghamshire in deploying APIs to ensure hospitals can access social care information to support the discharge process.

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