All NHS patient records digital and interoperable by 2020

All NHS patient and care records will be digital, real-time and interoperable by 2020, under new plans unveiled by national health and social care organisations today. 

The ‘Personalised Health and Care 2020’ report explains how the NHS will go about giving patients digital access to all their records by 2018, and how the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will regulate the quality of record-keeping from April 2016. 

It added that from March 2015, all citizens will have online access – viewed through approved apps and digital platforms – to their GP records. Three years later all individuals will then be able to record their own comments and preferences on their care record. 

The report was published by an alliance made up of the Health and Social Care Information Centre, Monitor, the CQC, the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), Public Health England, the Local Government Association and clinical leaders. 

Within it they stated that by spring next year, the National Information Board (NIB) – the government body that represents England’s public sector care services – will coordinate agreement on national technical and professional data standards required to achieve digital real-time and interoperable care records. 

25 Management-Graph-DataIn the following year, NIB will publish a ‘roadmap’ for moving to a whole-system, consent-based approach, which respects citizens’ preferences and objections about how their personal and confidential data is used, with the goal of implementing that approach by December 2020. 

As part of the new proposals, it was noted that subject to ongoing evaluation, and with full safeguards, the delayed programme to link hospital and GP data will be extended nationally to other care settings to enable safe data-sharing for better analysis of care outcomes. 

The report authors added that by June 2015, the NIB will agree a core ‘secondary uses’ dataset that all NHS-funded care providers have to make available to support commissioning, regulation and transparency. The dataset will be reviewed regularly and developed in line with general and specific confidentiality requirements. 

Tim Kelsey, National Informatics director at NHS England, said: “We must embrace modern technology to help us lead healthier lives, and if we want - to take more control when are ill.” 

“Our ambition is to make the NHS a digital pioneer for our patients and citizens.” 

The alliance’s report sets out examples of where this is already happening, adding that technology will play a vital role in helping contribute to the £22bn in efficiency savings needed to sustain the NHS, as set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View. 

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) said: “Given that much innovation saves money as well as lives, we need to change the NHS from a lumberingly slow adopter of new technology to a world class showcase of what innovation can achieve. 

Jeremy Hunt Public Safety“I want the NHS to be a world class showcase of what innovation can achieve. Today’s plan sets out how we can give patients 21st century, personalised healthcare.” 

In addition, by the ned of 2015 NHS ‘Kitemarks’ will be introduced for trusted smartphone apps which will help patients access services and take more control of their health and wellbeing. 

Other proposals include abolishing paper in A&E by 2018 and applying an NHS verification to third-party health apps so they can be “prescribed” by GPs. 

And, from April 2016, the CQC is to take performance against the data quality standards into consideration as part of its regulatory regime. 

David Behan, chief executive of the CQC, said: “Using information from the public and from other organisations is a crucial part of how we check the care that people receive – it helps us to make decisions about where and when we inspect. 

“This plan outlines improvements to the way the health and social care system uses data and is a real opportunity to make the NHS and wider health and social care system fit for the modern digital age.” 

The NIB also endorses the move to adopt a single clinical terminology – SNOMED CT – to support direct management of care, and will actively collaborate to ensure that all primary care systems adopt SNOMED CT by the end of December 2016; the entire health system should adopt SNOMED CT by April 2020. 

It was stated that the proposals set out in paper must also be delivered “within available resources”. However, the alliance partners noted that “we do not know what a future funding settlement will be for the Department of Health and the NHS, nor for its technology priorities. The Five Year Forward View identified that delivering on the transformational changes it proposes and the resulting annual efficiencies could – if matched by staged funding increases as the economy allows – close the £30bn gap by 2020-21”. 

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