How we publish the NHS Data Model and Dictionary

The tools we use to maintain and publish the NHS Data Model and Dictionary

The first editions of the NHS Data Manual and NHS Data Dictionary were published in the 1980s as loose-leaf file. Since then the platforms have changed and evolved, with the last significant change in 2005, when the platform moved to the Micro Focus Together UML editor running in Eclipse. Shortly after, the data model was generalised, building on the work of the NHS Modernisation Agency Review of Waiting and Booking Information (ROWBI).

Since then, the platform has been stable. The UML models were refined and evolved. We are now in the first phase of a three phase uplift, eventually migrating the full production onto Mauro Data Mapper (Mauro).

Phase one includes data migration from the Together platform to Mauro and publishing a web-accessible data model and dictionary designed to work with modern browsers and on modern devices, whether wide screen desktop computers, smaller tablets or mobile phones.

The models, including all the data sets, are translated into a vendor neutral XML representation conforming to the OASIS open standard - Darwin Information Typing Architecture. This allows publication of all, or any part, of the dictionary along with other content (including this page). Output formats available include e-books in epub or mobi format, print documents in accessible PDF.

Phase two will see the NHS Data Model and Dictionary Service move to maintain the data model and dictionary using Mauro. In parallel, NHS England is extending its use of Mauro to understand other data sets it receives with the aim of developing a common map of its data sets. This extension includes data specifications for the delivery of care including the UK core Health Level 7 (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability (FHIR) resources.

During phase two, NHS England intends to make the full NHS Data Model available for computer consumption with an Application Programming Interface and also make all of the codes and descriptions used in the NHS Data Model and Dictionary available as FHIR resources through a FHIR terminology server.

The final phase is to start moving to a single logical model with data collected for secondary uses, such as performance management, commissioning or research, demonstrating their links to the data recorded in care records. This phase will see the NHS Data Model uplifted from Version 3, introduced in 2005, up to Version 4. Underpinning the Version 4 model will be the ISO concept model of the health and care business, ISO 13940:2015 - A system of Concepts to support the Continuity of Care.