Care Service Discovery

This guidance is under active development by NHS Digital and content may be added or updated on a regular basis.


Supports discovery of care services resources using a RESTful interface in interrelated, federated environments. This profile builds on IHE Mobile Care Services Discovery (mCSD)

Use Cases

  • Healthcare Service Query where a patient needs to be referred to another provider for treatment and a .
  • Care Directory Lookup where an application wishes to lookup details of an Organisation, Practitioner, Healthcare Service, etc.
  • Endpoint Discovery where system like a clinical portal or health information exchange, needs to identifyy endpoints for retrieve patient records or patient.

The profile supports querying for:

Organization – Organizations are “umbrella” entities; these may be considered the administrative bodies under whose auspices care services are provided such as Healthcare Information Exchanges(HIEs), Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) or even a one-physician family practice. An organization has a unique identifier and may have additional administrative attributes such as contact person, mailing address, etc. Departments of an institution, or other administrative units, may be represented as child Organizations of a parent Organization.

Facility – Facilities are physical care delivery sites such as hospitals, clinics, health outposts, physician offices, labs, pharmacies, etc. A Facility has a unique identifier, geographic attributes (address, geocode), contact attributes, attributes regarding its hours of operation, etc. Each Facility is defined by a pairing of Location and Organization.

Location – Locations are physical places where care can be delivered such as facilities, buildings, wards, rooms, or vehicles. Locations also include jurisdictions such as a village districts or regions. A Location has a unique identifier and may have geographic attributes (address, geocode), attributes regarding its hours of operation, etc. Each Location may be related to one Organization. A location may have a hierarchical relationship with other locations.

Practitioner – A Practitioner is a health worker such as defined by WHO (in Chapter 1 of the World Health Report 2006); a Practitioner might be a physician, nurse, pharmacist, community health worker, district health manager, etc. Practitioners have contact and demographic attributes. Each Practitioner may be related to one or more Organizations, one or more Locations and one or more Healthcare Services. Specific attributes may be associated with the Practitioner relationship with these other entities.

Healthcare Service – Each healthcare service has a unique identifier. Examples include surgical services, antenatal care services, or primary care services. The combination of a Healthcare Service offered at a Location may have specific attributes including contact person, hours of operation, etc.

Endpoint - An Organization may be reachable for electronic data exchange through electronic Endpoint(s). An Endpoint may be a FHIR server, an IHE web services actor, or some other mechanism. If an Organization does not have an Endpoint, it may still be reachable via an Endpoint at its parent Organization or an affiliated Organization.

Organization of this guide

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