The new developer community will provide quick and easy access to important information and tools for healthcare software professionals.
NHS Digital has created an online tech community that will offer support to those working to integrate systems within the national healthcare services. Healthcare software professionals who connect with NHS Digital systems are in the process of being invited to join a new online forum to share ideas and solutions more easily.
It is reported by NHS Digital that over 200 users have signed up for the new developer community, which will offer an online space to any healthcare software professionals looking to integrate with NHS Digital’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) platform.
An API platform connecting healthcare software professionals
The platform provides a set of products and services to make it easier to build and integrate with national systems. These are used by point-of-care and patient-facing applications to talk to back-end applications. Most are owned by NHS Digital; however, some are by third parties. The platform will offer a consistent experience for API consumers and producers, which supports improved integration.
The online community was developed following a survey by NHS Digital that illuminated that 76% of existing users (chief technology officers, project managers, business analysts and developers) were in favour of a well-supported, official NHS forum to provide them with help and support.
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.”
Offering a community for all to access
The developer community is open to anyone to browse or search for answers to queries. Healthcare software professionals with developer hub accounts will also be able to post and respond to other threads featured on the forum. Feedback can also be left to help contribute to the pilot.
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.”