NHS Digital has launched an online forum designed to bring together and support IT professionals working in the health sector.
NHS Digital say the thought behind the community stems from wanting to develop an online space where anyone can integrate with its Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) platform.
With its “consistent experience,” and by providing a package of products and services that are used by frontline applications to communicate with other back-end applications, the API platform makes it easier for consumers and producers to integrate with NHS systems.
NHS Digital set about creating the develop community after a survey it carried out revealed 76% of existing users – which includes everyone from chief technology officers and project managers to business analysts and developers – supported the creation of an official NHS forum that provided them with the backing they need.
Ernest Kissiedu, who, as well as being an NHS Digital business analyst, helps manage the API platform, said: “We realised we could improve the way we do things by providing an open forum to create a sense of community among our API developers.
“We were offering developer support to API Product teams using email, MS Teams, and Slack channels. But every week, we were receiving the same queries relating to the same issues such as getting started on NHS Digital APIs, accessing our path to live environments, and onboarding.
“By answering these questions in an open forum, we realised more people would be able to see the solutions to these problems.
“We want to support our developers by ensuring they have a positive experience and encourage them to use our APIs to develop cost-effective, digital services designed around the needs of our health and care professionals, patients, and the public.”
As of last week, NHS Digital has already seen more than 200 users sign up to the platform – the platform allows said users to browse and search for answers to their various queries, respond to other’s questions, and give feedback to inform future design routes for the forum.
Shan Rahulan, Director of Platforms for Core Services at NHS Digital, added: “I'm really keen to work in the open so that we can bring all the expertise and experience we have across the health and care service together. There are a lot of people outside NHS Digital whose expertise we can harness.
“We want all our users to get involved and for new ones to sign up too, to help shape the future of the developer community by providing feedback on NHS products and services.
“The long-term vision for the community is to make it easier for the health and care system to access support, insight, and knowledge. By creating an open environment, we hope people in the community will come together to help each other and share their experiences.”
To access the community, click here.