Onboarding is NHS England's process for allowing connecting Systems to integrate with national services. Connecting systems are developed by technology partners to provide healthcare organisations and individuals with access to national services, in support of the provision of direct care.
There are three main approaches to Onboarding and NHS England is working towards standardising these. GPIT, IM1 and full integration approaches are separate to the following 'self-declared compliance' approach, which uses a Supplier Conformance Assessment List (SCAL) and Connection Agreement (CA). We are currently transitioning the SCAL to the Digital Onboarding Service (DOS).
The NHS England services and APIs that currently follow this onboarding approach include:
- Spine Mini Service Provider for Personal Demographics Service (SMSP-PDS), only available to existing users who will migrate to PDS FHIR before 1st Feb 2024 , new users must use PDS FHIR APIs.
- PDS FHIR APIs
- Electronic Referrals Service APIs (e-RS)
- Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) Prescription Tracker API
- Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) HL7 and FHIR APIs
- GP Connect Products e.g Access Record: HTML & Structured, Appointment Management & Send Document.
- NHS login
- NHS App
- NHS App Notification & Messaging
- Summary Care Record 1-click (SCR 1-click) only available to existing users, new users must use National Care Record Service (NCRS) before 1st Oct 2023
- Care Identity Service 2 (CIS) - formerly NHS Identity
- National Event Management Services (NEMS) with PDS data
- NEMS with Digital Child Health (NEMS-DCH)
- National Record Locator (NRL)
- Urgent & Emergency Care (UEC) Appointment Booking
- Ambulance Analytics API
- Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH) API
- Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS)
- Booking and Referral Standard (BARS)
- National Care Record Service (NCRS)
- Wayfinder (Hospital Appointment Information; Appointments; Documents & Questionnaires )
- Immunisation History - FHIR API
The onboarding process is risk-based and:
- assesses the technical conformance of the connecting system with the integration standards and requirements of the service
- requires self-declared compliance with specified standards for data protection, clinical safety, information governance and security
The aim of the onboarding process is for all parties to work together to ensure the safe and secure transmission and/or sharing of data for healthcare purposes.
The parties involved in onboarding are:
- NHS England the owner of the National Service
- the connecting party an individual or organisation that develops, owns, and maintains the connecting system that connects to one or more national service or services - this is sometimes called a partner or supplier
- the end user organisation, the recipient or commissioning body wishing to use or commission a connecting system to access a national service or services - the end user organisation often represents individual end users for example, healthcare professionals or patients
Each national service also has a web page or portal, that contains the technical, functional, and non-functional standards and requirements that a connecting system must meet in order to integrate to the national service.
There is a Supplier Conformance Assessment List (SCAL), currently presented as a workbook. This is completed by the connecting party to create a record of the technical conformance of its connecting system with the technical requirements of the national service being integrated. It also contains declarations of organisational compliance with standards, regulations, and policies.
We are in progress of transitioning all our SCAL's to the Digital Onboarding Service (DOS). Once a developer account has been set up, the connecting party must register their organisation, to which they may register multiple products, each product may onboard with multiple APIs within the one record. When an organisation, product and its associated APIs are added, the supplier will be presented with the appropriate question set for the APIs they are onboarding too and may commence completion of the assurance questions. Users can upload documents and evidence as directed by the question sets and the onboarding teams. The NHS England will review, request more information, and approve the question sets.