In simple terms an API allows communication and information to be shared between systems. This means that if another system is developed to utilise an API (such as a GP system, PAS or Electronic Patient Record system) it is possible to access e-RS functionality directly within that system without having to load e-RS in a web browser. For example, all new referrals for review could be accessed directly from a PAS or EPR system and this information could be used to create an encounter record on the PAS – no more copying and pasting or re-keying between windows. It also opens up the possibility to manage referrals in ways that are not possible using the web-based interface.
What is an e-RS API?
Current RAS implementation (without API integration)
Healthcare providers may choose to put in place a RAS to triage referrals in support of more complex clinical pathways. Unlike a directly bookable service in e-RS, a RAS request has no appointment booking and for this reason there is no electronic information sent from e-RS to the service provider (hospital) PAS. As a result, if the hospital wants to keep a record of the RAS request the service provider staff must either manually register, or update, the patient information on their hospital PAS.
Find out more information about RAS.
Potential RAS solution (with API integration)
System (PAS) suppliers with API integration can download the Referrals for Review worklist which contains both booked appointments and RAS requests. The APIs can also provide information such as patient NHS number, a PDF of the clinical referral information and any attachments (including the referral letter, if provided). An API integrated system could be enhanced to download this information and create or update its patient registration records electronically.
The development to achieve such outcomes is dependent on a supplier integrating with e-RS via the APIs. Currently the Clinical Referral Information (CRI) API is available and in use in several providers, with the next phase API allowing the ability to accept, reject or redirect a referral coming very soon. Organisations are encouraged to work with their PAS suppliers to ensure the workflows and functionality of any integration with their system fit local processes.
Interested service providers should encourage their system suppliers to find out more information about the e-Referral API Hub.
If you have any questions or need more information regarding e-Referral APIs, please contact the team via: firstname.lastname@example.org