techUK’s Interoperability Charter for Health and Social Care
As part of the Digital Place campaign week 2022, the exciting time has come for techUK to relaunch its Interoperability Charter for Health and Social Care, which sets out a set of key principles to help enable the change needed to deliver better integrated health and care.
Lots of companies have already supported this work in the past, and we are now asking you to reaffirm your commitment to the Charter, following the work done by techUK’s Interoperability Working Group to update it over the past year. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the members that have led this work.
The Charter can be accessed on this page, along with the form we are asking companies that want to renew their commitment, and then send to [email protected].
Why you should sign up to the Charter
Developed in good faith by techUK members, the voluntary Charter, aiming to provide thought leadership, outlines a set of principles that members commit to adhering to ensure their systems become enablers of change and help to drive the digital transformation of health and social care. It is not equivalent to signing a legal document or a contract. The focus is on raising awareness of the importance of interoperability.
If you were previously involved in this work, you will see that this is now simply about renewing your commitment to the Charter. As highlighted in our recent response to the draft Standards and Interoperability strategy published in April, interoperability needs to become a core part of all digital transformation projects if we are to achieve the vision set out in this document:
A health and social care system that enables all relevant care information to be accessible by those who have a legitimate right to do so, at the point of need, no matter where it is held
Interoperability Charter Procedures: How companies sign up to the Charter
- In order to become an official signatory of the Charter, a representative from your organisation who has Profit and Loss responsibility must email the Health and Social Care Programme Team ([email protected]) to provide confirmation that the organisation will adhere to the principles outlined in the Charter. The organisation must also provide a high-resolution company logo.
- techUK will periodically update the list of logos on the website to include new signatories. It is the responsibility of the signatory to inform techUK of any changes to their company logo.
You can find below more information about the background to the Charter. If you would like to arrange a call to discuss in more detail, please contact the Health and Social Care team.
Background to the Interoperability Charter
The Interoperability Charter was first published by techUK back in 2015, after former NHS England CEO Simon Stevens’s Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View proposed new models of integrated care to radically transform the traditional boundaries between primary, secondary, community, and social care. techUK members that supply to the health and social care market welcomed these changes and wanted to make a meaningful contribution by making information systems more open and easier to integrate, enabling the free-flow of patient information between products, and hence across the care continuum.
The Charter, developed and approved by the then techUK Health and Social Care Council, with input from the wider techUK membership, took forward core principles outlined in techUK’s paper Our Vision for Interoperability, published in March 2015. The document set out the changes that members wanted to see to deliver radical service transformation.
In 2017, the techUK Health and Social Care Council added an Addendum to the Charter clarifying definitions included in the original document to help make it easier for companies to sign up.
techUK and members’ recent work on the Charter
Over the past year, the techUK Interoperability Working Group has been working on an updated version of the Charter to reflect the changes that we’ve seen in the digital health and care space since its initial launch, which has now (2022) been approved by the techUK Health and Social Care Council.
Following the Addendum made in 2017, we published our Manifesto for Matt, NHSX was launched, the Future of Healthcare vision paper and the NHS Long Term Plan were published, and we saw lots of changes in the space brought about by COVID-19, along with other developments. In February 2021, we released our flagship paper, the Ten Point Plan for Healthtech, which made 10 recommendations to position the UK as a leader in the digital health and care space. Since, we’ve continued to work closely with the standards and interoperability team at NHS England and Improvement, and we’ve seen recommendations made on interoperability taken forward included in the most recent publication of the draft Standards and Interoperability strategy. With the relaunch of the Charter, our aim is to encourage the development of an ecosystem underpinned by the vision set out by the aforementioned draft strategy. We also just released this week our latest paper, Right from the start: what should Integrated Care Systems prioritise to make digital, data and technology work for them and their populations?
Suppliers that sign up to the Charter are only making a statement of intent. There is no commercial or contractual commitment, implied or otherwise, in being a signatory. Purchasers are advised to add specific clauses to their procurement contract to ensure that suppliers make available the required interoperability functionality, particularly the support for UK Core and associated ISNs, but only where the content of the message is defined along with the method to produce and consume that content.