NHS Digital signs deal to introduce NHS Terminology Server

NHS Digital has signed a deal with DXC Technology and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, to deliver a central NHS Digital Terminology Server.
The Terminology Server will help support data exchange between systems and enable easier integration of local coding systems with national and international coding languages, such as SNOMED-CT and FHIR.
NHS Digital said it “will make mapping clinical and administrative codes between different health and care organisations, and their contracted technology suppliers, faster and easier.”
It means health and care organisations and suppliers, can then chose consistent terminology mapping capability to support integrated care and share code system reference data.
The introduction of the Terminology Server will also see approved researchers be able to use the reference data to create their own databases, where they will be able to map local and existing codes with new coding systems such as SNOMED-CT.
CSIRO developed Ontoserver to match up common variations in clinical terminologies – such as “chest infection” vs “upper-respiratory infection” to help the different clinical coding software talk to each other. The solution will use the international FHIR standards to process codes, their descriptions and interrelationships, including complex queries.
It acts as a translation service and will support other tools such as the NHS Data Dictionary, which provides a reference point for information standards, such as the standard for how a date of birth or clinical conditions should be recorded, to support integrated health and care activities within the NHS in England.
In Wales, the Terminology Server will be delivered under the National Data Resource Programme as a component of the NHS Wales Digital Health and Care Record Architecture.
Nicholas Oughtibridge, Principle Data Architect at NHS Digital said: “Recording data once and then reconciling, comparing and sharing the data safely has been a long-standing challenge across the NHS. Ontoserver has the potential to transform the way in which data is captured, shared and analysed across health and care.”
“The capabilities that Ontoserver delivers are key to enabling data from disparate systems to be safely and meaningfully exchanged between care providers, researchers and service planners.”
“NHS data is already a valuable tool in fighting disease and finding new courses of treatment, but having access to more localised data, more quickly will have a real boost for researchers.”
Colin Henderson, Industry General Manager at DXC UK, said “Speaking a common language is essential for integrating healthcare and improving patient care. This agreement is a major step forward for the NHS in driving interoperability through the delivery of a common terminology across national, regional and local healthcare ecosystems”.
“The adoption of international health standards such as HL7 FHIR, and terminology sets such as SNOMED CT, are central to DXC’s interoperability solutions and the value they drive to unlock greater insights in health data.”
Rhidian Hurle, Medical Director NHS Wales Informatics Service & CCIO NHS Wales said “Structured, standardised and clinically meaningful data is fundamental to ensuring high quality data drives decisions to improve outcomes within our Health Service.”
 
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