Digital Child Health Transformation Programme

The way we manage and inform parents and professionals about the health of children has not changed in over 20 years. ‘Healthy Children‘ sets out the case for restructuring our information services and systems for children, young people, parents and families so they can contribute fully to improving their health and wellbeing and collaborate easily with professionals across the spectrum of care. The vision is for transformed child health information services, which will know where every child is and how healthy they are and which give appropriate access to information for all involved in the care of children.

In recent years there has been a new emphasis on ways of improving children’s health which focuses on the importance of early interventions and preventive measures in improving health. ‘Healthy Children‘ takes this one step further by promoting the use of apps and digital tools to empower patients, parents and carers in sharing decision making and so allowing them to become key stakeholders in their own health and care.

The health and care sector is undergoing transformation. Technology is fundamental to this transformation and is no longer on the edge of services, but is central to the delivery of health and care for both adults and children. This has been recognised at the highest level in the Five Year Forward View (5YFV), and the National Information Board’s Framework for Action, Personalised Health and Care 2020 (PHC2020).

NHS England’s Healthy Children: transforming child health information sets the strategic direction for the future investment and development of child health information systems supporting the ambitions of 5YFV and PHC2020 as well aligning with ‘Better Births’ to ensure that future maternity and children’s services meet the needs of women and their families by delivering care that is as safe as the best available.

The 5YFV gives clear direction of why change is needed and outlines the basic digital requirements if the vision is to become reality; Real time access to patient data for professionals, and digital data sharing between professionals to improve patient care. Patients, parents and carers also need better access to information and the ‘Healthy Children’ vision supports parents and professionals in their direct care for children and young people to promote their health and wellbeing.  The vision promotes the use of apps and digital tools to empower patients, parents and carers in sharing decision making and so allowing them to become key stakeholders in their own health and care.

PHC2020 provides a framework for action of how technology and data are essential for the delivery of quality and efficiency and improved patient’s outcomes. It supports frontline staff, patients and citizens to take better advantage of the digital opportunity that we currently face. ‘Healthy Children’ supports this view by supporting real time access to patient data for professionals as well as giving Patients, parents and carers better access to information to support them become more involved in decisions made around their own health and care.

There is growing recognition of the idea of proportionate universalism; improving the lives of all, with proportionately greater resources, targeted at the more disadvantaged groups. By sharing the learning from ‘Healthy Children’ with commissioners and providers across the Health and Care system we can inform the re-design of services across the health and care including the development and realisation of Local Digital Roadmaps (LDR’s) and Sustainability and Transformational Plans (STP’s) to ensure value for money and better use of resources across the system.

The new Healthy Children: transforming child health information aims to transform child health information services allowing better monitoring of every child’s health and providing access to information for all those that are involved in the child’s care, where appropriate, to ensure that all children get the best possible start in life.

Better monitoring, personalised care and greater control of decisions:

  • There will be an online record of a child’s health and development as well as their health and care issues.
  • Young people and families can set their own preferences for information sharing and see who subscribes to their information.
  • They can choose their own goals for health and wellbeing and share these with professionals, empowering them to manage their care in a collaborative partnership.

For healthcare professionals this will mean accurate, up to date information:

  • Professionals will have access to key health information at the point of care to improve decision making.
  • Professionals delivering preventative programmes of care will be alerted by a failsafe management service when an intervention is due or has been missed.

For an overview of overall public health this will mean High quality, relevant, reliable information:

  • Public health professionals will have access to more comprehensive, more up to date datasets to be better informed
  • It becomes possible to deliver personalized health promotion materials to people and enter into dialogue with them. As parents, families, carers and young people begin to use personal health records routinely.