PRSB reports on lessons from the pandemic on the future of digital care

A new report from the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) examines the digital transformation of health and care services during the pandemic and recommends how the system can use the lessons from COVID-19 to advance digital change, while maintaining safety and prioritising citizen’s needs.   

The Digital Health and Care and COVID-19 report is based on consultation with more than 100 PRSB members and partners including the royal colleges, social care system leaders, health care providers, patient groups, regulators and others. The pandemic has driven rapid adoption of digital care like never before. The PRSB sought to learn lessons from the changes, identify challenges and solutions and grasp opportunities that have arisen as a result of this swift digital change.    

The recommendations include building on the enthusiasm for digital but reviewing and evaluating safety implications, particularly for remote and virtual consultation where both clinical risk and patient access need to be addressed. The report also includes a focus on quality in practice, including the use of apps and other digital technologies. Members told us that better coordination of data collections in health and care are needed to reduce burden on frontline professionals.   

“We also heard that we need to improve information sharing to support new models of care, particularly in urgent and emergency care, as well as for personalisation of care, shared decision making, end of life care and integrating health and social care,” said Professor Maureen Baker, chair of the PRSB.  “We are currently undertaking work to address six of the recommendations, but we believe a strategic approach involving system leaders, our members, and frontline providers and suppliers is also needed.”  

The PRSB and its Advisory Board members are working with NHSx to support their work on reducing the frontline burden of data collections as well as improving adoption of standards and the ability of IT systems to interoperate across organisational boundaries. Prof Baker added: “We are discussing the report with leaders across the NHS, colleges and social care and by doing so we will draw together leadership from across the system to address the report’s findings and recommendations.”