This strategy sets a shared, coherent vision for information across healthcare, public health and care and support, along with some initial steps. This is a collective strategy rather than a centrally driven programme.
The ambition is bold, and it will take time. As with any large service or industry, investment in modern information technology and systems is central to success, proving cost effective over the medium-term. To achieve real benefits across the system for people using services, and for taxpayers, we need a fresh approach to the direct and flexible use of information and IT to address real business needs.
This strategy deliberately avoids prescription in all but a few essential areas. This is because central organisations cannot hope to keep pace with the potential multitude of options that technological innovation will make available, nor is it appropriate to set out centrally imposed solutions that meet the needs of each and every local population.
A small number of actions will need to be led nationally, such as setting common standards to adhere to allow information to flow effectively around the system. More detailed implementation planning will be led by organisations including the NHS Commissioning Board, the Health and Social Care Information Centre, and Public Health England.