Major new report on digital technology

New plans to improve health outcomes and the quality of patient care through digital technology and innovation have been unveiled by national health and social care organisations today (13 November 2014). Established by the Department of Health and chaired by NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey, the National Information Board has set out a vision for how technology should work harder and better for patients and citizens by 2020. The vision commits to giving everybody online access to their GP records, viewed through approved apps and digital platforms, by 2015. GP practices are well on their way to achieving this but national leaders want to offer people access to all of their health records – held by hospitals, community, mental health and social care services – by 2018. In just 4 years, every citizen will be able to access their health records at the click of a button, detailing every visit to the GP and hospital, every prescription, test results, and adverse reactions and allergies to drugs. Patients will also be able to record their preferences and thoughts alongside official medical notes. The alliance will establish a national digital standard for people at the end of life – building on the success of Co-ordinate My Care in London – so their care preferences are respected. The digitisation of the Personal Child Health Record (the red book) will offer new mothers personalised mobile care records for their child. Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt said:

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.

Tim Kelsey, National Informatics Director, said:
New mothers will now be able to carry their red book around with them on their smart phone and tablet as the NHS moves towards offering digital Personal Child Health Records. This will put an end to worrying about leaving your child’s information at home when going for a review, vaccination, or emergency treatment. 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 framework sets out how real time data will be available to paramedics, doctors and nurses, ensuring patients receive safe and effective at the point of care. All NHS funded care services are expected to have digital and interoperable systems that remove the limitations of paper records and slow bureaucratic systems by 2020. The plans also include:
  • NHS ‘kitemarks’ for trusted smartphone apps which will help patients access services and take more control of their health and wellbeing in 2015
  • patients to be able to access their own GP record from spring 2015, and will have full access to care records by 2017 - patients will be able to record their own comments
  • patients will only have to tell their story once - with consent, care records will be available electronically across the health system by 2018 for urgent care services and 2020 for all services – improving coordination of care, particularly for those with complex conditions
  • introducing a digital ‘red book’ in 2016 – helping parents to manage their child’s early health records
  • ensuring the NHS remains a leader in fight against disease and as a hub for genomics research
  • developing innovative personalised medicines so treatment is right first time
Aside from the clear benefits for patient care and disease prevention, better use of technology will help create a more efficient NHS. The alliance’s report sets out examples where this is already happening. Technology will play a vital role in helping contribute to the £22 billion in efficiency savings needed to sustain the NHS, as set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View. Members include 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.
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