To realise the enormous potential benefits of information to improve our care and our health outcomes, this strategy sets the following ambitions:
- Information used to drive integrated care across the entire health and social care sector, both within and between organisations
- Information regarded as a health and care service in its own right for us all – with appropriate support in using information available for those who need it, so that information benefits everyone and helps reduce inequalities
- A change in culture and mindset, in which our health and care professionals, organisations and systems recognise that information in our own care records is fundamentally about us – so that it becomes normal for us to access our own records easily
- Information recorded once, at our first contact with professional staff, and shared securely between those providing our care – supported by consistent use of information standards that enable data to flow (interoperability) between systems whilst keeping our confidential information safe and secure
- Our electronic care records become a key source of the health and care information used to improve our care, improve services and to inform research, etc. – reducing bureaucratic data collections and enabling us to measure quality.
- A culture of transparency, where access to high-quality, evidence-based information about services and the quality of care held by Government and health and care services is openly and easily available to us all
- An information-led culture where all health and care professionals – and local bodies whose policies influence our health, such as local councils – take responsibility for recording, sharing and using information to improve our care.
- The widespread use of modern technology to make health and care services more convenient, accessible and efficient
- An information system built on innovative and integrated solutions and local decision-making, within a framework of national standards that ensure information can move freely, safely, and securely around the system.
If we can access, contribute to and choose to share our health and care records, it will support a culture of ‘no decision about me without me’.
Better use of information and innovative technology can help professional teams to prioritise more face-to-face support where that is needed, and can also enable local areas to design integrated health and care services, and improvement strategies that reflect local need.
We need to have confidence in the quality of the information we use. Improving and enhancing our access to our own health and care records and facilitating the accurate recording and use of information by clinicians and professionals will lead to much needed improvements in the quality of information.
This will, in turn, promote greater confidence in the quality of information collected and used for our care, as well as the nationally aggregated information used to support the planning and commissioning of services, research, quality and safety, and for accountability.
The success of this strategy depends as much on a culture shift – in the way patients, users of services and professionals think, work and interact – as it does on data or IT systems. It depends on making the shift to give us more control of our health and care and on recognising that collecting and sharing good information is pivotal to improving the quality, safety and effectiveness of our care, as well as our own experiences of care.