Analben Mehta: September 23, 2020
In our latest contribution from members of the team at NDS, Senior Software Engineer, Analben Mehta, talks about what first attracted her to the role, what her team has been working on during COVID 19 and what the future holds for the NDP Integration Team.
Why did you join NDS?
Before joining the NES Digital Service (NDS), I created an award-winning start-up for a secured business networking application. I was delighted with what we did, but I felt the need to do something that helped people at a national scale, so I left to work for an NHS Board a few years ago.
I found the digital side of the NHS to be fragmented, which has both positives and negatives when you are solving digital healthcare problems. I wanted to work on something that connects the whole of the NHS as a national level healthcare platform. However, at that point, the National Digital Platform, the shared system for clinical data across health and social care in Scotland, hadn't yet been agreed. Realising such a platform was some time away, I left to work for an investment and pensions company before finding out about the work of NES Digital Service in early 2019.
I was keen to work on something like the National Digital Platform, and read NDS’s updates, outlining its aim of creating one system for health and social care data. Challenges attract me, so when I found out that the NES Digital Service was building a national digital platform, I felt compelled to apply and was successful in my interview. I was delighted to be one of the first members of the Engineering team, starting in May 2019.
What’s your role?
My job covers many areas, including leadership of the NDP Integration Team within NDS, designing and developing technical solutions, co-ordination and project management to enable the wider NHS and third-party organisations to use the National Digital Platform.
I like helping different teams by solving critical problems or by supporting them in what they are trying to build. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I volunteered to be redeployed to help the NES Digital team build an end-to-end solution for the Clinical Assessment Application. I had the opportunity to help design the underpinning architecture for creating a pdf from the database and sending the clinical document as a ‘FHIR message’ with a pdf to the NDP Integration Platform close to real-time. I also helped the team develop the proof of concept for this and coordinated the integration work with a number of collaborating organisations.
Apart from this, conducting interviews, engaging with my NDS colleagues to help continuously improve processes and platform capabilities are one of the regular tasks that I do here at NDS.
What does the NDP Integration team do?
The team started in June 2019 with an initial scope to support one of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Innovation Projects. The NDP Integration Team provides a secure public interface for messages, data and document transfers connecting them to the National Digital Platform. In a short time, the service has become very popular and we now have more than a million messages going through the NDP Integration platform every month.
As a team, we also support innovation and broader NHS Scotland projects by connecting different health boards, GP practices, care homes, Trak-care, and clinical applications with the aim of integrating them all on to the National Digital Platform.
During COVID-19, we have been extremely busy working on COVID-19 related integration projects. We are currently supporting the integration of the 'Negative Notification Service' within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. This involves receiving a COVID-19 test result as a FHIR message via NHS National Services for Scotland’s hub, which we validate and authenticate with our platform and then route to another service provider.
We have also been supporting the NES Digital Clinical Assessment Application by integrating clinical assessment reports to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde via an Integration Hub.
Aside from COVID-19, we are also working on the Dermatology Virtual Appointments (DDAS) project. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Grampian and NHS Forth Valley are running a pilot to test virtual dermatology appointments. We support messages and document exchanges for scheduling appointments, so a patient can have a virtual appointment using the app, and resultant information is sent to the NDP Integration team.
As you might have noticed, we do a lot of work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. We are also supporting a number of scoping projects with NHS GG&C, such as the My Clinical Outcomes Ovarian Cancer Report, COPD and Trauma Reports and we feel incredibly privileged to be able to work in a truly collaborative way with other health boards.
What makes the team so special?
We have a great team, made up of talented Software Engineers, Information Governance specialists, Product Designers and Clinicians. The past six months have demonstrated the importance of having a supportive environment with interested people - I honestly think it is an excellent place to work. Senior management is also very extremely supportive. Like many others, working from home means that all of our meetings are now remote. That in itself has brought both challenges and positives. Working as a team, we have found lots of interesting ways to keep us agile, motivated and on track.
What does the future hold for the Integration Team?
We have a lot to do in the next six months. Not only do we have the challenges that COVID-19 brings, but we also want to improve our message transfer capabilities and onboarding capabilities for new health-boards and service providers. We want to help integrate and transform data from various sources. Currently, we are working on early-stage integration requirements for capturing vaccinations data. Cancer Treatment Summaries is also one of the projects that requires integration work. NDS has been working on Cancer treatment summaries for some time, and we would love to bring this to the 'Integration Team' as a new project.
To learn more about opportunities with NDS please visit our careers page.