As 2017 draws to a close, PRSB CEO Lorraine Foley reflects on the organisation’s proudest achievements.

Information sharing set to improve thanks to transfer of care standards

Providing health and care professionals with the right tools to share information and make care safer for patients is one of our core objectives as an organisation. This year we have almost completed our transfer of care standards, which will help to ensure information can be shared easily and quickly between professionals anywhere a person receives health or social care. Our innovations in information sharing include: the updated e-discharge summary standard, the crisis care standard, the emergency care discharge summary standard, the mental health discharge summary standard and the outpatient letter standards. Our website has more about all of these standards. The final standard to complete the transfers of care suite will be the clinical referral standard, which is due to be published in spring next year.

Innovating children’s health and care through digital records

One of the achievements I’m most excited about is the publication of the Healthy Child Record standard. This standard is an innovation in digital information that will make it possible for children to receive appropriate care by setting out what information on screening tests, immunisations and developmental milestones should be accessible to health and social care professionals, and parents/guardians for their treatment and care. Supporting the government’s Healthy Child Programme, it means that everyone involved in a child’s care, including parents, will have access in the future to a standardised set of paperless, digital child health records that will help improve preventive care and keep children safe and healthy.

Integrating social care

One of the benefits of digital information sharing is that everyone involved in a person’s care will have access to the same information, whether they’re working as a clinician or in social care. This year we’ve developed excellent links with social care professionals in order to spread awareness about the importance of information sharing between different services. In spring 2017 we also completed a study on care homes, to outline the areas where information sharing needs to improve between hospitals and care homes and we hope to progress that work next year.

Hearing from patients and carers at our annual general meeting

We had a fantastic AGM in September. People who use services and professional care providers moved our attendees to tears. Through a series of personal stories, the audience heard how information sharing is directly impacting the people who receive care. Tony Prosser talked about the information challenges he and his family face when caring for their adult son, Matthew, who is severely disabled. Iza Gill, a mother of two, discussed the challenges families face over information sharing when they move between different areas. All our speakers’ personal stories supported our vision to make care better and safer through the development of shared record standards. The AGM was also an opportunity for us to say goodbye to our retiring chair, Professor Iain Carpenter, and welcome our new chair, Professor Maureen Baker.

Using PRSB standards to drive active information sharing

I’m really passionate about making sure that PRSB standards are adopted and we’ve been working hard to promote awareness of our standards by building relationships with our members and partners, engaging clinicians, professionals and patients and developing our newsletter, social media, and website as well as our members and partners. We’re really pleased that more people are aware of PRSB standards and that local providers and commissioners are implementing them and sharing their experiences with us so we can adapt and improve PRSB standards.

And now for the technical bit

Standards can only be used if we have the right technology in place to support them. This year we have begun developing FHIR profiles with INTEROPen, to ensure that technical messaging is in place to support sharing of vital information between different IT systems in the NHS and social care. We’re also working with NHS Digital to implement SNOMED CT, a digital clinical language that can be used across health and social care to improve quality and safety.