Information standards (including data collections and extractions) specify rules for collecting, processing, managing and sharing information in secure and confidential ways within health and social care. As a patient, healthcare professional or commissioner, information standards provide you with benefits that include:

Patient/Service User

  • Improved safety – Through standardised use of the NHS number throughout health and social care system, your information is available to individuals providing your care, to ensure the best care is provided.
  • Increased choice – Through provision of standardised and accurate information about services within the health and social care system and how they work.
  • Improved access to information – Healthcare professionals will have access to important information to make decisions about your care. You will be able to access your own healthcare records.
  • Interoperability and Integrated Care – Information standards enable accurate information to flow freely and securely through health and social care systems.
  • Improved services – Information standards enable the development of tools to support users, commissioners and providers of health and social care services.
  • Joined up services – Interoperability between information technology systems enables healthcare professionals to access the information they need to provide coordinated services based around your needs.

Healthcare Professionals

  • Quality of care – By capturing clinical information in standardised and consistent ways through the use of common terminology, for example SNOMED CT, all healthcare professionals can understand the details of your patients’ care in all areas of health and social care.
  • Access to records – You can support your patient in easier access to their information, and you will have access to relevant, secure data from the patients’ record to support clinical decision making.
  • Integrated care – Information standards enable you to appropriately share your patients’ information with other healthcare professionals involved in their care in a safe and secure manner.
  • Information recording – Standards enable you to accurately record information onto patients’ care records, allowing you and other healthcare professionals to understand their needs better and the impact your care is having on them.
  • Access to information – You will be able to provide your patients with better access to information, recommending available information resources and enabling your patients to be well informed about their conditions.


  • Integrated care – Information standards will give you access to data about the local population you serve, about how money is spent and about the performance of service providers. This will support good planning and good management of services.
  • Access to Information – Information standards will enable you to make better informed commissioning decisions about the services that people in your area want and need. Stakeholders will be able to gain access around their local community.
  • Quality service – Information standards will allow you to compare your practice against quality standards that define key elements of a high quality service.