NHS Digital is initiating a new online tech community, to further collaboration between health and tech professionals and the general public
Integrating systems with national healthcare services, NHS Digital have launched an online forum for people to share ideas and solutions to health problems in an online tech community.
IT professionals who connect with NHS Digital systems are being invited to join the online space, but so far over 200 users have signed up to the developer community, to integrate with NHS Digital’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) platform.
Given the long wait times at the NHS currently, this digital transformation could help patients seeking help who may not have the time for a full health check up.
76% of users wanted an official NHS forum for support
The API platform withholds numerous products and services to make it easier to build and integrate with national systems, like the NHS.
The idea for the tech community came after an NHS Digital survey, which showed that 76% of existing users – consisting of chief technology officers, project managers, business analysts and developers – were looking for a well-supported NHS forum to support their health needs.
These are used by point-of-care and patient-facing applications to talk to back-end applications, providing a dependable experience for API consumers and producers, and helping to make integration easier.
Creating an open forum for the tech community
NHS Digital business analyst Ernest Kissiedu, whose role involves supporting API Management, said: “We realised we could improve the way we do things by providing an open forum to create a sense of community among our API developers.
“We were offering developer support to API Product teams using email, MS Teams, and Slack channels. But every week, we were receiving the same queries relating to the same issues such as getting started on NHS Digital APIs, accessing our path to live environments, and onboarding.
“By answering these questions in an open forum, we realised more people would be able to see the solutions to these problems.
“We want to support our developers by ensuring they have a positive experience and encourage them to use our APIs to develop cost-effective, digital services designed around the needs of our health and care professionals, patients, and the public.”
“There are a lot of people outside NHS Digital whose expertise we can harness”
Shan Rahulan, Director of Platforms for Core Services at NHS Digital, added: “I’m really keen to work in the open so that we can bring all the expertise and experience we have across the health and care service together. There are a lot of people outside NHS Digital whose expertise we can harness.
“We want all our users to get involved and for new ones to sign up too, to help shape the future of the developer community by providing feedback on NHS products and services.
“The long-term vision for the community is to make it easier for the health and care system to access support, insight, and knowledge. By creating an open environment, we hope people in the community will come together to help each other and share their experiences.”
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