Information sharing and technology

There is effective sharing of information across the health and care system both to support more integrated forms of delivery and integrated commissioning. Citizens, care professionals and commissioners have access to the information they need and when they need it.


Definitions

There are broadly five key areas where local areas are making better use of information to support joined up health and care:

  • Sharing of information for the direct care of individuals such as joint care planning, safeguarding or discharge planning. This includes the development of ‘local shared care records' which present a consolidated view of information from multiple organisations.
  • Digital channels by which citizens can engage in care and health services improved provision of information and advice as well as the ability to access their own information
  • Technologies which enable people to remain independent at home supporting the delivery of care closer to home. This includes the use of telecare, telemedicine, telehealth and other forms of remote and assistive technology
  • Sharing of information to inform commissioning including risk stratification which enables services to be more effectively targeted towards individuals at risk
  • Technology which enables care professionals to work remotely and to work in integrated teams

Frequently asked questions

What does ‘good' look like?

Ultimately approaches which are person-centred and co-designed with citizens and residents as well as care professionals/commissioners are often far more successful. Starting therefore with user needs is essential.

What information can I share and what can't I share?

Unfortunately, it is not always clear what information can be shared and with who. Local areas should consider whether their sharing is for direct care or for commissioning:

  • If sharing is taking place for direct care then relevant information should be shared with those providing care. The Safety and Quality Act 2015 introduced a new legal duty to share information where it is in the interest of the individual.
  • If sharing is for commissioning then there is more complexity regarding sharing and we would encourage local areas to seek advice. However, there is a view that commissioning information generally does not require information which is identifiable and therefore local areas should consider how anonymised information can be used.

What role do Local Digital Roadmaps have in this?

NHS England in 2015/16 asked local areas to develop Local Digital Roadmaps. These plans are the digital plans for Sustainability and Transformation Plans, and set out, for each local area, how they plan to move to being ‘paper-free at the point of care' by 2020.

The plans asked local areas (led by CCGs) to describe their plans against a number of areas including – shared care records; transfers of care; remote and assistive technology and infrastructure. The plans largely focus on sharing for direct care although many areas have also included how information will be brought together to support population health and improved analytics.

One of the requirements of these plans were for CCGs to engage with Health and Wellbeing Boards as part of the process of adoption.

What funding is available to support this work?

As part of the last Spending Review there was a £4.2bn commitment to the use of digital and technology across care and health. A programme, led by national organisations (including DH, NHSE and NHS Digital) has been developed consisting of 10 domains and 33 programmes. The funding is likely to be mixed between enabling national delivery and funding to local areas to support local delivery. However, the balance of this is not yet clear and arrangements for accessing this funding have also not yet been confirmed. NHS England have however funded 12 acute providers to act as Global Digital Exemplars.

NHS England has also made available funding in 2015/16 through the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF). Nearly 300 schemes across the country will be supported – many of which have a technology angle. Although this is primarily for NHS organisations there are examples of ETTF submissions which also support care organisations.

Case studies and examples

Across the five themes, examples of good practice include the following:

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LGA support and resources

Selected tools and resources from our partners

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