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Overview

Ensemble has fully supported an implementation of the NHS Interoperability Toolkit as an add-on package for some time. Support for the ITK is now part of the core product. The ITK concept is being used as a platform for sharing innovation, enabling Trusts to solve problems with new applications that can be reused across the NHS. By working with InterSystems, Trusts are able to achieve a quick and simple path to ITK adoption.

In September 2010, InterSystems received the UK’s first fully compliant ITK accreditation from the National Integration Centre (NIC). The award was made for new support capabilities and components within InterSystems Ensemble, a seamless platform for integration and the development of connectable applications.

The ITK provides NHS end users and application developers with a ‘plug and play’ solution to fast-track them towards full ITK compliance. This is applicable to more than 50 UK NHS sites that already use Ensemble, and new customers will also receive the ITK distribution as part of their Ensemble deployment.

In developing this solution, InterSystems has also been mindful that the ITK is a standards-based initiative that must cover new as well as existing systems. To achieve this, ITK standards need apply to both the applications that interface with end users, as well as the behind the scenes integration middleware that connects them. The Ensemble ITK capability therefore supports both usage scenarios, providing a uniquely holistic approach through two main strands:

  • The ITK Switchboard: A data-driven integration solution that allows ITK-compliant systems to interoperate with a minimum of integration work.

  • The ITK Adapter Kit: A set of components that provides a fast track to ITK-compliance for both legacy and new applications. Use the Adapter Kit to communicate between ITK-accredited applications and legacy applications.

Support for ITK within Ensemble has proved successful in a number of clinical pilot schemes. Crucially, InterSystems has developed the Ensemble ITK in anticipation of change. Where possible, the toolkit describes format and protocol standards in registries that are readily updated to accommodate new versions. Therefore, using Ensemble for its ITK capability is not only a highly efficient and effective route towards ITK adoption – it also helps to futureproof against any future evolution of ITK standards.