There’s no doubt that 2020 was a strange and challenging year, but health and care services have done an impressive job of adapting quickly to rapid change. The pandemic has led to increased innovation, particularly around digital and while there has been a lot of difficulties, we’re also hopeful that this renewed focus on ‘digitisation’ can continue into 2021. From online consultations to increased interest in self-care apps, COVID-19 has ‘sped up’ the process of digitising health and care.
- In 2020 we published new social care standards, which will connect health and social care services. We will be excited to see these put into action in 2021, so that people can benefit from more personalised care. A key part of this has been standardising the ‘about me’ section of records, the crucial information that helps professionals providing care and support to understand who the person is and their individual needs. At Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust plans are underway to incorporate the About Me standard into its new person-held record system, to try to ensure that people are able to access the personalised support they need to meet their own individual health and wellbeing needs.
- In addition to About Me, we’re excited to see growing support for more integrated care systems, alongside more personalised care and shared-decision making in health and social care. This will be an important area of work for us in 2021, and we look forward to working with a wider group of people and carers to support the development of more personalised health and wellbeing. As well as the shared-decision making standard we’ll be working on, plans are underway to expand our people network, to help us better ensure that the needs of patients and carers are truly being met through information sharing.
- Getting standards used in action was a big push for us this year, and we’ve seen great results. Pharmacy standards are already supporting community pharmacies in sharing vital information with GPs up and down the country. We hope to see this continue as we roll out the next phase of the standards in this year, with more community pharmacy services, for example testing for certain conditions and support to quit smoking, being covered. Meanwhile we’re also seeing greater adoption of other standards, such as the outpatient letter standard, across the country where clinicians write directly to patients. We expect to see this grow this year, with a great focus on standards adoption.