The Government is setting out its ten-year strategy for transforming the way patients get and use information about their health. The Power of Information sets out plans to give all patients easy and continuous access to their own health records by 2015. From next year people can choose the best care for themselves and their families using a new website that covers the NHS, community services and social care.
The NHS Commissioning Board Authority is developing a programme of work to deliver key elements of the information strategy through NHS organisations. The vision set out in The Power of Information is that patients are in control of the information they need to improve their health and wellbeing and NHS information systems are designed to support clinicians and other front-line staff to deliver safe, high quality care to their patients.
Key elements of the strategy include:
- A commitment that, by 2015, anyone in England will be able to access their GP health record online as well as book appointments with their GP or request repeat prescriptions online
- A longer-term commitment that all health and care records held by hospitals and other service providers will be made securely available to patients, enabling them to become much more involved and in control of their own healthcare
- A new national website will give people access to information about NHS, public health and social care services. This will include information on conditions, symptoms, treatments and the quality and range of services available, so that patients can make properly informed choices about their care
- The NHS will help patients and the public to get and understand the information they need, particularly for those people who are unable to access online information. This will involve the NHS working closely in partnership with other organisations, particularly in the voluntary sector
- Patients will be able to leave feedback on their experiences of NHS services, both online and in other ways, and NHS organisations will listen to this feedback and act on it
- The way information is recorded in patients’ records will be accurate, consistent and standardised. This will both improve the quality of data available for patient care and also reduce over time the need for time consuming and costly additional data collections
- There will be clear national standards in place to ensure that locally developed IT systems can “talk” to each other and exchange information effectively and securely
- Technology will be used to give patients high quality and convenient care – whether this be telehealth monitoring equipment that can be put in people’s homes or equipment such as digital pens or clinical websites that make the working lives of NHS staff much easier and more efficient
- NHS organisations will be encouraged to have a clinical information champion on their Boards to promote the importance of IT skills and training across the NHS workforce, for clinicians and front-line staff as well as IT professionals
The Power of Information is available on the Department of Health website at http://informationstrategy.dh.gov.uk/. It is also available in an easy read version and is supported by an online library of good practice case studies, video testimonies and equalities and impact assessments.
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