In his keynote speech to the 2017 Health and Care Innovation Expo, Matthew Swindells, NHS England’s National Director of Operations and Information, urged software providers to “not be protective about ‘your’ data”. He added that, “If the patient wants you to share what you’ve got with another clinician who’s treating them, I don’t want to see vendors locking the data down”. Swindells also encouraged those working within the NHS to “drive openness and data sharing into the system” by working with vendors that support this.

Commenting on Swindells’ keynote, Jim Beagle, President and Chief Executive Officer at BridgeHead Software, said, “We wholeheartedly support an open standards approach to data management; interoperability of data between systems can only improve the delivery and quality of care. We know that when software vendors adhere to, and embrace, a common approach to healthcare data standards it goes a long way towards developing a truly integrated health and care landscape, which ultimately benefits patients.

“To begin with, the interoperability of clinical systems enables healthcare providers to get a 360-degree patient view and facilitates collaboration on more complex and, or, multi-disciplinary cases. And then, of course, there’s the wider integration and interoperability across the health and care ecosystem.

“We are part of a community rallying to implement real change in relation to the way healthcare systems communicate and interact with one another. BridgeHead supports, and urges other software vendors to support, the techUK Interoperability Charter, which sets out key principles for delivering better integrated health and care. More recently, we joined the CommonWell Health Alliance, which is also committed to helping solve the longstanding problem of interoperability in the health care industry. And, we also actively support Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), which is an initiative by healthcare professionals and the industry to improve the way computer systems in healthcare share information.

“If we look at techUK’s Charter, it stipulates that information systems should be neither financial nor technical obstacles to improvements in patient care, but enablers of change in support of integrated care – we couldn’t agree more.

At BridgeHead Software, interoperability has always been at the very of core of our business and solutions. We have long embraced ‘common’ healthcare data standards and practices – XDS, HL7, DICOM, to name but a few. By adhering to these common standards, it’s possible to create a truly technology agnostic and standards-based repository for patient data accessible by other healthcare systems, such as EPRs, PACS, clinical portals, and the like.

“We also advocate separating data from the applications that create them and the storage on which they reside, to enable hospitals to standardise access to key elements of the patient record while simultaneously freeing them from “vendor lock-in”.

“With regards to Swindells’ address to the NHS to ‘drive openness and data sharing into the system’, we recognise this and are driving our customers to make sure these standards are adhered to when it comes to managing their patient information.

It’s only when all healthcare organisations – software vendors, the NHS and local government – support and adhere to these common standards that we will realise the true potential of the patient data for the greater and common good.”

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Jim Beagle is President and CEO at BridgeHead Software. BridgeHead Software is a pioneer in Healthcare Data Management, 100% dedicated to healthcare and trusted by over 1,200 hospitals worldwide. BridgeHead’s Independent Clinical Archive (ICA), HealthStore™, offers a unique, innovative solution that underpins digital transformation initiatives, helping IT, clinicians and operations realise their vision of a single patient record, directly improving care co-ordination and clinical workflow, all whilst overcoming rapid data growth challenges and the increasing TCO of managing that data.

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