System C & Graphnet Care Alliance has completed the initial phase of integrating  CareCentric with a new information sharing setup from NHS Digital, the company has announced.

The National Record Locator Service was launched by NHS Digital earlier this week, and is intended to improve sharing of key patient data between clinicians.

In the first instance, it will allow paramedics and mental health nurses to easily find out if the patient they are attending has a mental health crisis plan.

System C & Graphnet Care Alliance’s initial deployment adds locator records for patients who have been referred to Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The locator records are added within the Cheshire shared care record, which is powered by the company’s CareCentric solution.

The integration has been achieved through Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) APIs, as was detailed at a dedicated FHIR workshop held by System C & Graphnet Alliance earlier this week.

The event, held on 27 November, drew around 100 delegates from 50 NHS organisations, including CIOs and CCIOs from acute, community and mental health trusts, GPs, and representatives from local authorities and child health providers.

Attendees of the event were treated to live demonstrations of FHIR messages in action, including those showing real-time access to GP Connect from different GP systems, and access to Cerner and Medway e-observations.

The workshop suggested growing enthusiasm for FHIR standards, which aim to improve the ease with which electronic health records can be exchanged.

The use of FHIR APIs enables systems or applications using the standard to “call” each other directly and exchange relevant data in real-time.

Graham Softley, director of IT strategy and delivery at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said: “The day showed me the future of interoperability and the use of FHIR messaging in an informative and transparent way. FHIR will transform data sharing within health and social care.”

Speaking to Digital Health News after the event, Dr Ian Denley, joint CEO of System C & Graphnet Care Alliance, said: “There’s been a lot of talk about widespread use of FHIR and really we haven’t seen much of it yet.

“It’s a whole different way of looking at interoperability compared to what anyone’s been used to before.

“I think for a lot of people, the workshop brought it alive that this was possible.”

Longer term, the aim is for CareCentric to publish the locations of all record types, including detailed mental health crisis plans.

This will be rolled out in phases as data sharing-agreements are signed off, the Alliance said.

However Markus Bolton, joint CEO at System C, suggested FHIR required ongoing support across the healthcare community to maintain momentum.

“FHIR’s here and moving at pace, but it’s going to be a lot of work for everybody,” he told Digital Health News.

“I think it’s important that people understand FHIR so they can plan the next few years of development around what it can do for them, and how it works.

“There will be other shared care records developed in the UK, and we need to make sure we have standards that will allow us to pull data form and accept calls from other shared care record system.”