CSIRO to deliver tech services to NHS

Australia’s national science agency has won an international tender to deliver software to the UK’s Nation Health Service.

CSIRO will partner with UK IT company DXC to deliver clinical terminology services to the NHS via its Ontoserver, developed at the Australian e-Health Research Centre in Brisbane.

The collaboration will help standardise clinical terms and enable healthcare systems across the UK and Ireland to ‘speak the same language,’ the CSIRO says, enabling better decision support and reporting for healthcare workers.

Healthcare practitioners and organisations use different software and different medical terms to record health information. But the terminologies can vary, so  a”chest infection might also be recorded as “upper-respiratory infection”.

This can make it difficult to match up information and keep up with evolving situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

CSIRO says its Ontoserver makes it easier for software to use existing “clinical dictionary”-like tools.

Ontoserver has underpinned the Australian Government’s National Clinical Terminology Service since 2016, and is used by more than 70 Australian licence holders implement nationally endorsed ‘code’ systems, which mean information such as a patients’ allergies or medicines to be seamlessly exchanged between systems.

Dr David Hansen, CEO of CSIRO’s Australian e-Health Research Centre, said the new agreement demonstrates the benefits of science collaborating with industry to address healthcare challenges.

“This agreement to take our home-grown innovation across to the other side of the world really shows the great work being done in digital health in Australia.

“A shared health language is fundamental to innovation in healthcare around the world. Australian companies already using Ontoserver will find another market providing their local terminology using familiar software.”

Nicholas Oughtibridge, Principle Data Architect from NHS Digital said Ontoserver has the potential to transform the way in which data is captured, shared and analysed across health and care.

“The capabilities that Ontoserver delivers are key to enabling data from disparate systems to be safely and meaningfully exchanged between care providers, researchers and service planners,” he said.

Ontoserver is already licenced internationally, including to organisations in New Zealand, the United States, Germany, Switzerland, England and Wales.

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