Onboarding is NHS Digital’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 Digital 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).
The NHS Digital services and APIs that currently follow this onboarding approach include:
- Spine Mini Service Provider for Personal Demographics Service (SMSP-PDS)
- 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 capabilities e.g. HTML and Appointments
- NHS login
- NHS App
- Summary Care Record 1-click (SCR 1-click)
- Care Identity Service 2 (CIS) - formerly NHS Identity
- National Event Management Services (NEMS)
- NEMS with Digital Child Health (NEMS-DCH)
- National Record Locator (NRL)
- Urgent & Emergency Care (UEC) Appointment Booking
- Ambulance Analytics 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 Digital 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.
Finally, 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.