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Interoperability Toolkit releases

Access the latest Interoperability Toolkit (ITK) release 2 component packs, along with supporting information.

Core framework

The ITK Release 2 delivered a refreshed ITK core framework with a range of new functional themes. The current version of ITK contains the following component packs:

The ITK Core is a common framework which ITK functional sub packs rely on. It includes details of interaction patterns, acknowledgements, error handling, audit trail and security. It includes:

  • core service definitions - definitions of services which are applicable across the ITK
  • transport specifications - messages and contents have been designed to be independent of transport. Web services are the default transport, but others such as Data Transfer Services (DTS), are also supported
  • architecture specifications - specifications describing the expected technical behaviours of ITK applications and middleware
  • distribution envelope - ITK payloads are wrapped in a 'thin' wrapper called the Distribution Envelope, containing information for routing the transmission and details about its payloads
  • acknowledgement framework - an overview of the acknowledgements appropriate for ITK implementations
  • a target operating model - describing the responsibilities of an organisation deploying an ITK solution (such as Information Governance, Clinical Safety and Governance)

Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) definitions for specified correspondence types

This contains the requirements for systems sending or receiving messages containing published message specifications for CDA documents (such as discharge, outpatient, accident and emergency and ambulance reports). It covers the handling of CDA documents by clinical applications and the processing and transmission of these by message handling systems between parties over a variety of transports.

Message specifications for defined aggregated data on patient encounters

Message specifications that utilise the HL7 version 2 standard, such as messages for admission, discharge and transfer (ADT) of a patient.

Interoperability Specifications Reference Pack

This is a periodic publication of referenced content type within interoperability specifications. The Reference Pack consists of the following:

  • OID Catalogue - for usage of OIDs please refer to individual Domain Message Specifications
  • HL7 v3 Vocabulary - for usage of HL7 v3 Vocabularies please refer to individual Domain Message Specifications
  • HL7 v2 Vocabulary - for the definitive source for HL7 v2 Vocabularies please refer to the NHS Interoperability Toolkit HL7v2
  • SNOMED CT Subsets - for the definitive source for SNOMED CT subsets please refer to the Combined Terminology Bi- Annual Release on the Technology Reference Data Update Distribution Service. For usage of SNOMED CT subsets please refer to individual Domain Message Specifications

Spine Mini Services specifications

Spine Mini Services specifications define interaction with NHS National Services (Spine). This includes services that allow interaction with the Personal Demographic Services (PDS).

It should be noted that those vendors needing to become Spine compliant as part of their overall SMSP offering will need to follow the appropriate assurance process to receive their Spine compliance certification. Only those vendor products that have successfully completed the assurance will be able to retrieve Patient Demographics Service (PDS) data directly from the National Spine.

Interoperability Toolkit Standards Conformance pack

The Interoperability Toolkit Standards Conformance pack contains tools and guidance for attaining conformance with ITK standards, and applies to:

  • all suppliers who wish to seek conformance, irrespective of their current contractual relationship
  • all products being put forward for conformance, irrespective of their current compliance status
  • all products being put forward for conformance irrespective of their position within the end to end ITK solution

ITK message authentication

As part of an extensive review of the ITK Architecture Specifications, during 2012 a team comprising representatives from the centre and the suppliers agreed a number of changes to the way ITK messages are authenticated.

The changes reflected implementation difficulties presented by the nature of the WS-Security header signing specification given current development platforms, and addressed the inclusion in ITK of multi-hop and non-SOAP transports. Technical details on the reasons for these changes are given in ITK Security Briefing Paper - Straw man Proposals.

Health and Social Care Integration Domain Message Specification

The Health and Social Care Integration Domain Message Specification supports the communication requirements of the Common Assessment Framework for Adults.

This Department of Health policy is intended to improve the experience of individuals and their carers who use health and social care services by introducing a more proportionate and personalised assessment and care and support planning process, supported by information sharing between NHS and social care IT systems.

The programme of work has three core components: Assessment with Care and Support Planning, Hospital Discharge Notifications to Social Care and NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Child Screening Domain Message Specification

The Child Screening Domain Message Specification details the message definitions and interactions required to support the child screening work stream.

Telehealth Domain Message Specification

Telehealth Domain Message Specification contains details of message definitions and interactions required to support the national rollout of Telehealth.

The ITK R2 specifications are available for download by registering on our distribution portal TRUD. By registering interest in the ITK distribution packs we will keep you informed when changes or new releases become available.

We have recently published a reference implementation of some of the elements of ITK. It's aimed at developers and organisations involved in the development and deployment of ITK-based solutions and it aims to provide an invaluable point of reference when understanding the ITK specifications. You can access this resource on our developer network.

Further information

Last edited: 30 April 2019 2:42 pm