Information-sharing to support joined-up care


The changes planned in health and social care over the next decade – from reducing premature births to helping people live healthier, longer and more independent lives – are all underpinned by better use of information and technology to improve care.

In order to realise these benefits, we need to agree what information should be shared and deploy systems that will talk to one another across health and social care, with the right safeguards in place.   The PRSB are working with citizens and health and care professionals to define this in a ‘core information standard’.

How much information should be shared?

In the future, digital advances mean that most, if not all, information related to a person’s health and care can be shared with care professionals and citizens themselves. This is subject to being able to demonstrate that there is a legal, justifiable need to share for the benefit of the person.

We are a long way from this goal today so we need to start with a modest set of core information that is a realistic and achievable goal for most health and care systems over the next few years. The draft core information standard described here will include important information from a range of sources including primary, secondary and specialist care as well as social care and information contributed by individuals themselves.

In consultation with professionals and citizens on what a standardised set of core information should include, it is clear that achieving widescale adoption over time of even a modest set of information that can be shared between information systems would deliver profound improvements in the quality, safety and efficiency of care.

The core information standard

The core information standard will define a set of information that can potentially be shared between systems in different sites and settings, among professionals and people using services.  Which components of core information are accessed and used will be different depending on:

  • Who you are e.g an A&E consultant, a GP, a physiotherapist, a person accessing their own records
  • The situation e.g a crisis or emergency situation, being discharged from hospital to a care home, managing a long-term condition
  • The wishes of the person the information concerns regarding who should have access to their information e.g all my information can be shared, only my GP should have access to my sexual health history

How these different views of information are physically presented in systems will be dependent on system vendors and local implementers. It should ensure that the required information is presented in a way that is useful and usable and supports professionals to do their work efficiently and safely and citizens to access the information they need to manage their own care.

This is a journey.  The core information standard will provide a framework which local health and care systems can reference and move towards over time, according to their local priorities and capability to innovate and change at a speed that makes sense for them.  The core information is a baseline, and it is expected to evolve and grow as we learn from its practical application and use.