TRUD, Interoperability Toolkit

Interoperability Toolkit

The interoperability toolkit is four centrally-provided sets of documents and associated resources:

  • Architecture Specifications and Guidance Documents for Health and Social Care Interoperability
  • Domain Message Specifications for Healthcare Interoperability
  • Trust Operating Model
  • resources to aid development and deployment of ITK-accredited software.

The ITK is built from international standards, including W3C and OASIS, and adopts care interoperability standards and technologies from HL7 and IHE.

Interoperability Toolkit specifications are independent of technology, implementation and deployment platform. The NHS Health Developer Network website has several reference implementations that can be used for guidance.

For those wanting to access the national systems of the NHS in England, for some of the services, such as PDS, there are a set of ITK Spine Mini Service specifications.

Items in this category

Interoperability Toolkit - TMS Transport

This document provides the requirements for ITK Accredited Systems to nationally exchange messages via the National Spine Transaction Messaging System.

Should you wish to comment on this specification or for any content enquiries, please email HSCIC Interoperability Team


ITK Accreditation

Please note that content for this pack is no longer published on this website. ITK Accreditation information can now be found on the NHS Developer Network

The Interoperability Toolkit (ITK) Accreditation pack contains tools and guidance for attaining accreditation to the ITK Standard. It is applicable to all System Suppliers wishing to seek accreditation.

In order to attain ITK Accreditation, a vendor must demonstrate the technical conformance of their product with respect to the ITK requirements specifications by submitting evidences of this conformance to HSCIC for review. This will be achieved through use of the ITK Toolkit Workbench, along with completion of the Supplier Certified Requirements Coverage check list and by providing supporting evidence. All successful Accreditations are listed within the ITK Accreditation Catalogue.


ITK Architecture

These documents are intended for a mixed technical audience, specifically those intending to develop ITK Accredited Systems, as well as those in the Health and Social Care Architecture communities.

There are eight documents in two categories. The first part provides an overview of both the ITK and ITK Accreditation. The second part consists of six documents and covers the architectural requirements for building ITK Clients, Hosts and Middleware the Distribution Envelope, Transports and Addressing and the three different types of ITK transport: Web Service (WS), Data Transfer Service (DTS) and Transaction Messaging Service (TMS).


ITK Core

The Core contains help and guidance on the artefacts and concepts that are shared across ITK implementations. This pack contains service definitions that are used with all ITK transport options. For Web Services, the Core also contains technical artefacts such as WSDL files.

The Distribution Envelop is explained in detail in terms of its elements and attributes, with a schema file and several examples also included. The acknowledgement framework is outlined, with examples and schema for the ITK infrastructure Acknowledgement and ITK Business Acknowledgement.

Finally, the Core explains ITK correspondence metadata, including schema and examples.


ITK Spine Mini Service

The technical implementation to connect to SPINE is relatively intricate. The ITK Spine Mini Services have been created to provide a simpler route to access national services.

The Spine Mini Services specifications define how to connect to NHS National Services, commonly known as the Spine. Essentially these are a set of specifications to enable suppliers of third party software to provide solutions for a greatly simplified interface for accessing a subset of the SPINE services e.g. PDS, SCR. The intent is to lower the “barrier to entry” to the SPINE.

The Spine Mini Service Provider pack contains: Common Client Requirements, Common Provider Requirements along with specific requirements associated with the particular National Service being accessed. Currently this pack contains specific requirements for accessing Patient Demographics Service (PDS) and is being enriched to contain additional specifications for accessing other National Services e.g. Summary Care Record (SCR).


ITK Trust Operating Model

The Trust Operating Model is an integral part of the Interoperability Toolkit. It details the Trusts’ responsibilities for Locally Assured Systems and Spine Mini Service compliant systems.

The primary audience for the Trust Operating Model are project teams working for a deploying organisation who are responsible for the runtime requirements of the implementation. Suppliers are envisaged as a secondary audience for the Trust Operating Model documentation.

The documentation has two categories (i) Guidance and (ii) Governance and these are more relevant to the Project Manager and technical team within a deploying organisation. Senior Management may find the overview document relevant, and may also wish to familiarise themselves with the information on Governance and Stakeholders.


NHS Interoperability Toolkit CDA Functional Requirements

NHS Interoperability Toolkit CDA Functional Requirements This contains the requirements for systems sending or receiving messages containing NHS Connecting for Health published message specifications for CDA Documents (e.g. Discharge, Out Patient, A&E, OOH and Ambulance Reports). It covers the handling of CDA Documents by clinical applications and the processing and transmission of these by Message Handling Systems between parties over a variety of transports.


*This pack must be used in conjunction with the contents of the NHS Interoperability Toolkit Core pack and the NHS Interoperability Toolkit Correspondence pack.


For all content enquires, please email ITK team.


NHS Interoperability Toolkit HL7V2 Supplementary Pack

HL7 v2 Supplementary Pack contains artefacts supporting ITK HL7 v2 ADT Specifications. This pack contains tighter message schemas with vocabulary binding which can be used for conformance purposes. This pack also contains example HL7 v2 messages along with HTML representation of specifications derived from XML profiles of the HL7 v2 messages.

The artefacts contained in this pack are for information only and are not 'Normative'.


Please Note: The HL7 v2 supplementary pack has been made redundant and it is not available for download. If you are interested in the content of this release pack, you can subscribe and download it from here

For all content enquires, please email CFH Interoperability Team


NHS Interoperability Toolkit Security Requirements Accreditation and Concessions

As part of an extensive review of the ITK Architecture Specifications - during Q3/Q4 2012, a team comprising representatives from the Centre and the suppliers agreed a number of changes to the way ITK messages are authenticated. The changes reflected implementation difficulties presented by the nature of the WS-Security header signing specification given current development platforms, and addressed the inclusion in ITK, of multi-hop and non-SOAP transports. Technical details on the reasons for these changes are given in ITK Security Briefing Paper – Strawman Proposals.

The concessions discussed here will form part of the intended refresh and update to the ITK Architecture Specifications planned for completion by 3Q2013.

If you have any questions or queries on these changes to the documentation please direct them to Toolkit Enquiries

* This pack must be used in conjunction with the ITK Web Services Transport Specification which can be located within the related documents section of the NHS Interoperability Toolkit Core Pack