NHS Digital has said its Terminology Server, a solution which enables healthcare IT systems to speak the same language, has now gone live.
This follows the setting up of a single-supplier procurement framework last September with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO to use its Ontoserver system.
NHS Digital said the framework was created to support the adoption of standards and enables healthcare organisations to use its own service or procure and manage their own solution.
The solution’s main function is to translate items into a common ‘language of health’ when professionals describe something using different terms. NHS Digital cited the example of backache and lower lumbar pain, saying the Terminology Server can be used to match the different descriptions and enable different organisations to talk to each other in supporting patients.
It conforms with FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Standards) and can support clinicians in coding in the same language and inputting data, researchers in improving the coded data and developers in creating new apps, without the need to maintain large code sets, through a single API.
NHS Digital said this creates a collaborative ecosystem and a hub of central infrastructure that reduces the cost to organisations wanting to benefit from a common health language.
Consistency and speed
Nicholas Oughtibridge, the organisation’s lead data architect, said: “Having consistent codes makes life easier for clinicians and researchers, and ultimately patients. The Terminology Server facilitates faster data capture and record keeping at the clinical coalface and enables those records to be reused not only in a single clinical setting but in other similar or very different settings as a patient moves around the health and care system.
“The Terminology Server also opens the opportunity to reuse data for population analysis, research or for regulating providers.”
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