Understanding patient data


Professor Maureen Baker
Chair, The PRSB
Date: 12 March 2018


New videos will help people better understand the value of patient data
Back in the early days of the NHS, patient records were locked away in dusty rooms, seldom to be viewed again. But fast forward 70 years and sharing data is more important than ever in health and social care. Whether it’s used to support clinicians in providing the right treatment or researching new drugs, information is crucial to enabling good care. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Understanding Patient Data, to help produce a series of new videos to highlight the importance and impact of information sharing. While data seems like a dry topic for some, the reality is that it can make care better and safer for all those who receive it- even saving lives. These new videos aim to raise awareness amongst patients and citizens about exactly what data sharing can do- from diagnosis to new innovations in healthcare.  And I’m talking to you today to urge you to promote this project with colleagues, patients and the public and urge colleagues to champion responsible data sharing should they be asked about it. It all starts with good information recording and sharing. At the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) we aim to produce better health and social care records for better care. Surprisingly the content of care records has developed largely through custom and practice. But as the NHS and social care embrace the power of digital ways of working we need to standardise the content so that information can be shared digitally whenever and wherever it is needed to ensure people can always receive safe, effective care. This will help patients and carers who will only have to share information once, and their records will be available in every care setting including at home.
How can data be used?
Ensuring that the right people have the information they need to deliver care can vastly improve outcomes, but it’s not the only way we can use data to improve health and social care. By analysing anonymised data from across the UK, researchers can use information to better diagnose different conditions and develop new treatments. It also enables us to spot patterns in healthcare, work out where more services are required and anticipate what may be needed in future. For example, public health officials can use data to increase disease awareness and prevent outbreaks of serious illnesses such as measles and whooping cough. Patient information can also be used to better understand certain conditions, and work out new and better ways to cure and eradicate them. It can be used to monitor the safety and effectiveness of drugs, leading to better and safer care for all those who receive it. Using the right patient data in a safe and controlled manner is essential for the future of healthcare. Sharing information leads to faster and better developments, which will benefit the people who are giving and receiving care at all levels. The Understanding Patient Data videos will be rolled out over the next few weeks, and can be found on our website. We’d like to invite you to share them on social media, to help us promote the messages with as many people as possible.

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