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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Standards for commissioning or developing Personal Health Records

These are existing standards across health and care services and not necessarily specific to PHRs. Some are mandatory, but all should help you.

NHS BETA digital, data and technology standards

NHS Digital has published NHS digital, data and technology standards, including:

  • a BETA NHS digital, data and technology standards framework, that presents principles and 9 core standards and expectations for organisations and suppliers working with the NHS
  • BETA Clinical Information Standards, featuring a vision and roadmap

Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social care, set out a vision at NHS Expo 2018 "for a more tech-driven NHS".

He spoke of the "critical importance of standards in the development of digital, data and technology products for the NHS".

Some standards are live now, some are future requirements. All will become mandatory when developing products for the NHS.

NICE evidence standards framework

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published an evidence standards framework for digital health technologies, like PHRs. 

The framework is a downloadable PDF that includes two sections, covering 'evidence for intended use' and 'evidence for economic impact'.

There's also background information on how the framework was developed, plus details on its aims to offer advice, help for commissioners and "real value to patients".

Confidential information standards

Code of practice on confidential information: our code will help you to develop processes that make sure confidential information is handled appropriately. Some of the requirements must be followed.  

Information Governance Alliance (IGA): provides guidance on the appropriate sharing of patient information with other parties.

Records management code of practice for health and social care: the code is a guide to using and sharing records in health and care.

Service design and usability standards

GOV.UK Service Manual: this shows Government Digital Service standards, based on research, to help to make your PHR patient-centred and accessible.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: these international standards will help you make your PHR more accessible and usable for everyone.

Digital inclusion guide for health and social care: this NHS guide will help you to understand digital inclusion and how your PHR programme can support people at risk of exclusion.

Common User Interface tools and guidelines increase consistency in the appearance and functionality of EHRs. This improves usability and safety. Our material now only sits on the National Archives as it is no longer updated, but it's still accurate.

Security standards

The data security and knowledge library contains cyber and data security policies, plus good practice guidance, to help you protect data and systems.

Authentication standards

Visit the Care Identity Service, for clinical authentication standards.

Visit NHS login, to learn how patients can prove their identity before accessing digital health tools.

NHS Apps Library and GDEs

These standards complement existing guidance like:

They will help you to:

  • follow good practice
  • reduce risk when developing PHRs

Further information

internal Personal Health Records adoption toolkit

This toolkit supports health and care organisations in England to commission, develop or manage Personal Health Records (PHRs) and other citizen-facing tools.

internal Developing a Personal Health Record

Find technical architectures and components, our functionality checklist, review standards and browse information governance guidelines.

Last edited: 20 December 2022 4:35 pm