API Development for NHS.UK

NHS Digital


In 2018, NHS Digital began their journey into one of the largest digital transformation projects in the world. Their task was to migrate the live NHS Choices service from Sharepoint to Wagtail, and make things better along the way.

During the first year of their journey, we sent our software developers to assist the core team and helped them triple syndication signups, serving content through external services to over 5 million visitors per month across more than 1000 organisations and services.

What did we do?

We developed the API behind the Conditions and News content, whilst making it simple for new users to register and consume that content through the delivery of a new service.

Previously, registering interest was a laborious process for both users and the syndication team. Having all this content available through APIs didn’t create much value if they couldn’t engage with organisations and services for them to consume it. The new API endpoints had to be accessible, easy to use and create value for third parties.

nhs_show_and_tell.jpeg

The service we delivered was simple, the NHS API Registration service. Now all it takes is a single form submission and you have access to the suite of content APIs and Widgets available from NHS.UK in a variety of formats. Behind the scenes it’s fairly technical, integrating with Azure and Wagtail. But users shouldn’t have to worry about that complexity, and now they don’t. The syndication team can easily manage organisations and services, rate limiting, and authorisation, all through automation and dashboards instead of emails, manual database queries and spreadsheets.

"Brilliant to see this -- nhs.uk’s APIs are now powering digital services for 1,000 organisations! Well done team! So much fun to see the ecosystem growing"

- Hadley Beeman, Chief Technology Advisor to Secretary of State for Health

How this impacted engagement

By making the initial engagement process simple and creating a better value proposition, registration interest increased by over 550%. These visitors represented organisations and services which previously wouldn’t have experimented with the content available across NHS.UK, and later become a long term partner. This new influx of visitors, combined with the new content being provided, resulted in over three times as many monthly signups. And by increasing the engagement of organisations and services, each month over 5 million visits to content now originates from other platforms.

"A great step forward for the NHS tech ecosystem."

- Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We are proud of the impact our team made working with the talented syndication team at NHS.UK and would like to share our experience. From the API standards we adopted and implemented, to what decisions were required to handle over 9 million API calls per month.

If you would like to know more or would like some advice about your service, APIs and engagement, get in touch with us at info@vix.digital.

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