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NHS Digital launches new API Lab

NHS Digital has today announced plans for a new API Lab to be run in partnership with INTEROPencommunity members.

By pooling the expertise of developers from both industry and NHS Digital the Lab is expected to accelerate the development of open source APIs designed to improve system integration across the the NHS and social care.

Working according to INTEROPen’s openness and transparency principles, the Lab will address real information exchange problems for patients and clinicians.

The objective is to make patient information and securely accessible to healthcare professionals at the point of need.

The API Lab will be located in a shared workspace in Leeds. It is anticipated that developers from industry and care sector organisations will participate in the work of the Lab on a pro bono basis.

All APIs developed by the Lab will be open source and will build on the base FHIR standard from HL7. The APIs and associated tools and guidance will be made available under a permissive open source licence.

Expressions of interest are invited from suppliers and INTEROPen members to get involved in the Lab to help shape its governance and collaborative working principles. The Lab is expected to open for business in late 2017.

Richard Kavanagh, Head of NHS Digital’s API Lab, said: “I’m really excited by the API Lab’s potential to drive forward work on a number of significant open source APIs. By partnering with INTEROPen we will be able to create APIs even faster, delivering real benefits for the health and care system.

The INTEROPen Board has welcomed the API Lab: “This is a very positive development in our work to identify the methodology for taking a service need through to first of type implementation using open standards adopted by supplier members. We see API labs playing an important part in this process.”