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New standards introduced to improve information sharing between health and social care


By Awil Mohamoud
Reporter
12 November 2020

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NHS Digital has unveiled new national standards that aim to integrate people’s health and social care records and improve collaboration between services.

The new standards require that information relating to a person’s all-round needs be recorded and shared ‘in a clear and consistent way’ across both sectors.

This means professionals will have a ‘full picture’ of a person’s needs, enabling them to provide safer and individually tailored care, NHS Digital said.

This includes a hospital passing on information about a patient’s additional social care support needs to their care team. 

It also involves recording non-medical details, such as a photo, details about work, family or friends, or the ways a person usually behaves when they are in good physical and mental health. 

‘This will provide professionals with a better understanding of the person, not just their illness or condition,’ NHS Digital added. 

The new standards cover:

  • ‘About me’ – the personal details that a person would like to be recorded aboutthemselves
  • Health and care information shared in care homes
  • Information shared by local authorities
  • Referrals for community assessments for care and support after a hospital stay
  • The urgent information needed when a person is transferred to hospital from a care home.

The new standards for information shared by local authorities and ‘about me’ will be incorporated into the existing shared record standard, published in 2019.

More than 1,000 people, including frontline health workers, patients and carers, helped develop the new standards as part of a consultation, which also involved clinical and professional groups, charities, suppliers and researchers, according to NHS Digital.

The Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) produced the standards after they were commissioned by NHS Digital. 

‘Major step forward’

Professor Adam Gordon, British Geriatrics Society vice president and clinical lead on the project, said: ‘This standardised information will help everyone involved in care to access the information they need to help people to live the best possible lives they can.

‘From crucial information about medication and its effects, right through to daily goals and aspirations, it will help to ensure that everyone can be treated as an individual.’

James Palmer, head of the social care programme at NHS Digital, said: ‘The development of these standards marks a major step forward for social care, supporting better care for service users and wider use of shared digital records across the UK.

‘Several areas across the UK have already begun implementing the standards, resulting in improvements to wellbeing and health and care. The learning from these pilots will be shared across the country.’

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