Interoperability at the centre of NHS IT

With his initial technology strategy, secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock has made it clear that interoperability needs to be at the heart of NHS IT.

Outdated and obstructive digital systems will become a thing of the past with a set of mandatory standards the order of the day, to ensure systems can speak to one another.

For GP and IT leader Amir Mehrkar, the big change needed is less about the process and more about values.

“For the NHS, I don’t believe the challenge of interoperability is technical. The technology exists – across the world, information is flowing,” he says.

“But I don’t think we in the NHS often think about the values around information sharing. Values are intrinsic to the way that we [as humans] behave but one of the problems has been that sharing patient information isn’t seen as an obvious value.”

Mehrkar is co-founder and co-chair of INTEROPen. The organisation is bringing together the NHS, industry and other stakeholders to work collaboratively on accelerating the development of open standards in the health and care sector.

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