Business intelligence specialist, Ardentia, has received accreditation from Connecting for Health for its data transmission system, NetTransform.

The company claims to be the first to gain accreditation for its eXtensible Markup Language (XML) conversion system, which will be used to transmit data into the National Programme for IT national Secondary Uses Service (SUS) database.

NetTransform is said to provide an intuitive web interface, with a user-dashboard showing system status, current activity and any errors in the input data that would cause rejection of data from SUS. Optional modules can also check and report on data quality prior to submission.

Ardentia’s marketing director, David Beeson, told E-Health Insider: “NetTransform is a translator system that converts data into XML format for onward transmission. This is particularly important in the English NHS as it is mandated by Connecting for Health for trusts to transmit XML data to the SUS database.”

The SUS database is replacing the NHS Wide Clearing Service as the main source of healthcare data, so it is vital to ensure that it is fed with high quality data so that systems such as Payment by Results can operate effectively, and in order to accurately monitor performance levels and national datasets.

CfH has made the XML format compulsory and systems must gain the agency’s approval before they can be used. Ardentia claims that NetTransform is the first mechanism to gain approval to convert messages effectively.

“We had to go through a rigorous accreditation process. First we had to satisfy CfH that the specification we were working towards was correct and we got this approval in January. We then set about designing the system to gain full approval, which can only be approved when CfH sees a system running live in pilot stages.

“So a few weeks ago now, we began testing at our three chosen sites – North Staffordshire, Northampton and Northumbria and CfH came to see the system for itself and check the integrity of their data. We are now pleased to be able to say that NetTransform is the first solution of its kind to be approved by CfH and customers who have bought – or will buy it – will be among the first to be able to meet new CfH requirements.”

Ardentia says data files submitted to NetTransform are validated against the appropriate XML schema and faulty data flagged up before they are submitted to SUS, ensuring high quality data submissions and minimising the number of submissions that are rejected on the grounds of data quality.

Helene Weston, information services manager at North Staffordshire, said: “NetTransform makes the process of validating our CDS data and fulfilling our commitments to send it to SUS an easy to manage and straightforward exercise. Ardentia has supported us every step of the way during the system implementation and have helped to make the switch from EDIFACT (Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport) to XML as quick and painless as possible.”

Ardentia is a key partner to BT for SUS provision and Beeson believes that several trusts will show interest in the product now that it is accredited.

“It’s an obligation for trusts to send data to SUS in this specific format and I believe that they will see NetTransform as the chance to do something that they couldn’t previously do, and a convenient way of meeting these mandatory obligations.”