The PRSB sits down with Alexia Tonnel, Director, Evidence Resources for The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), to discuss the developing relationship between the two organisations.

Alex TonnelWhat do you think are the key links between PRSB and NICE?

Both of our organisations are committed to ensuring better and safer care for patients, by supporting clinicians to follow best practices. Information is an integral part of quality assurance, and it feeds into everything that care professionals do. Moving forward we would like to see record standards being informed by NICE recommendations.

How can these links improve the quality of clinical care?

Good digital care records should enable professionals to practice in line with NICE recommendations. Links between our organisations should improve the delivery of care and improve the sharing of relevant information between professionals. Over time we will also be able to generate better data about practice, such as audit data, which can inform future changes to NICE guidelines.

Are there areas of work we’re doing that you see as particularly relevant to your agenda?

NICE has a big portfolio, covering clinical care, public health and social care and as such most of the PRSB record standards work may be informed by a NICE guideline. Some of the work around standards for transfer of care may be particularly relevant to our few guidelines that focus on transition between care settings. We also have several guidelines for managing medication so we are interested in the work the PRSB is doing in this area of information sharing.

To what extent do issues around information sharing underpin the quality standards that NICE is addressing?

NICE’s recommendations are informed by available evidence about the clinical and cost effectiveness of care. They’re also informed by clinical expertise and patient or carer input. In some areas, the evidence can be scarce or unreliable, which means our committees may struggle to deliver a strong recommendation, for example about whether to use a new surgical intervention or a new diagnostic technology. Better recording and sharing of reliable care information could mean that, over time, we have access to more evidence linking practice and outcome.

How is better information sharing impacting quality and how can this be further developed/improved?

We depend on research to undertake our work, and all of our recommendations are based on scientific evidence. Through standardised information sharing, I think the research community can reduce the cycle time of reliable evidence being available about the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of new practice. It can also produce information about aspects of care for which traditional clinical trial-based research may not typically be undertaken or possible. Improved and standardised care records can mean more widespread, more reliable and more readily available ‘real world evidence’ to inform practice recommendations and to keep these updated.