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Our goals

Our goals for 2015-2020 are to:

Make better use of health and care information

We will analyse more health and social care data, and publish more information and insights. We want people to make informed choices about their own care. Our information already helps professionals make better and safer decisions. It supports policymakers, and helps those who commission health and care services. It also provides research organisations with the data they need.

Our new strategy looks beyond our current data collections. We will champion the importance of national data and build on the value and benefit it can create for people and society as a whole. We will:

  • make it easier to navigate information and, where appropriate, bring it into a single, shared national location
  • create a richer source of intelligence and analysis for wider use by connecting health and social care data
  • encourage the use of data from different sources, in line with the growing interest in Open Data
  • build on the opportunities for people to collect and use data from personal 'apps' and wearable devices
  • reduce the burden of data collection on care providers by introducing new data extraction services
  • develop our data services platform so that information can be provided easily and flexibly, with appropriate controls on access and usage

All this will require a change to the way information flows around the health and care system as a whole. Expecting care providers to submit data through national data collection tools will become a thing of the past. People should feel confident about how their personal data is protected, and we will not compromise on that. Whether data is anonymised or not, it is important that anyone can see what is available, who uses it and for what purpose.

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Ensure everyone's data is protected

Our cyber security strategy and programme is making improvements by building public trust in how data is kept safe. We will make sure that data used in health and social care is:

  •  safe
  •  secure
  •  of good quality

We want people to share their data knowing it will be kept confidential and secure. This is why we're putting in place a service that will:

  • allow everyone to say whether their personal data can be shared outside a meeting with a health and social care professional
  • manage preferences that people have about how their data moves through the health and social care system
  • help people decide whether to share data from their apps or medical devices with health or care providers
  • allow people to find out when and why their data has been used for purposes other than direct care

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Support organisations to get the best from technology, data and information

We will help local health and social care organisations get the most from their information technology investments. Where it makes sense, we will build technologies that can be shared by many organisations. A number of major, long-term contracts for nationally funded IT programmes come to an end over the next few years. As the contracts run out, we and our partners will make sure that new investments help local health and care organisations achieve their objectives and improve quality and productivity.

Our objectives are to:

  • build up an expert resource pool that local organisations can call on
  • provide special skills and knowledge not readily found on the market
  • act as the national centre of excellence for helping to start local data and technology projects
  • develop the right knowledge and skills frameworks for the whole of the workforce
  • assist Trust Boards in providing local leadership to get the full benefits from data and technology
  • help local health and care organisations create new framework contracts with industry and get more rapid access to suppliers
  • work alongside 'digital champions' - members of the public, clinicians, care professionals, managers and researchers
  • open an innovation centre where good practice from around the system will be promoted, suppliers can demonstrate new products, and the integration of new technology with existing systems can be tested.

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Create services that meet national and local needs

Where it makes sense to do so we will continue to build and operate national technology and data services. We will:

  • integrate some of these national systems to create a new information and transaction service for citizens, including service users and carers
  • open up access to our core systems, with appropriate safeguards, so that third parties can develop new and innovative services
  • continue to make systems secure and resilient

We want digital health and care services to be so convenient that everyone who can use them will do so. We realise that not everyone may feel this way so we will work hard to help people who can't or won't use these services. Our priorities are to:

  • support transactions, such as secure and approved record access, appointments and prescriptions
  • support transactions and services that help self-care
  • create safe universal access, using citizen identification and authentication
  • accelerate the creation of new personalised services that are integrated with our national systems
  • work with local authorities and social care providers to encourage use of the portfolio of national systems
  • open up access and connectivity to the national infrastructure for all accredited care providers, developers and service users

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Create shared architecture and standards for everyone

We are making sure the sector's technology and data services work together. This means developing and using standards to encourage safe and secure information sharing. Carers and clinicians need timely, reliable information about those in their care. People must be able to see and contribute to information held about them. Our work will allow people to track the use of their data and to be informed about the benefits of its use. We will also help create services that work across organisational and geographic boundaries. Our goals are:

  • all health and care organisations adopt the guidance in the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges' publication "Standards for the Clinical Structure and Content of Patient Records" .
  • standard clinical terminology is used across health and social care
  • the technical steps needed to use national services, such as the Spine and NHS Referrals, are published and are easy to access and use
  • accreditation is put in place for digital services and applications and guidance on technical and data standards
  • local ideas are supported that encourage the adoption of standards for interoperability, and that help join up care in local communities

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Have a question? Call us on 0300 303 5678 or contact enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk.

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