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NHSX shifts information governance effort to problem solving

15/10/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The information governance (IG) team at NHSX is shifting the focus of its work to encourage a different mindset towards the issue in health and social care.

Head of information governance policy Dawn Monaghan told the UKAuthority Innovation and Data4Good conference that it is beginning to work with frontline staff in the sector to make the effort more about problem solving to ensure data is shared properly rather than strict compliance with the regulations.

This comes out of the experience of how organisations had to step up their data sharing initiatives in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and a sense that staff need to feel confident about what they can and cannot do for specific purposes.

“In terms of transformation and the IG policy team we’re very much about building upon the pandemic response, picking up from local learning and making sure from that past experience we really are driving through change rather than just talking about the problems,” Monaghan said.

“There has been a shift from a national IG perspective that we have get inside the mindset of what it’s like on the front line, what we need to get in place to make the biggest impact, and to build confidence within the health and care system as a whole about what people can and can’t do so they are not endlessly deliberating and being paralysed.”

ICS emphasis

She said the team is beginning to spend time with frontline staff, particularly in integrated care systems (ICSs), with the aim of developing training materials and templates to help them get to grips with the demands of IG on a day-to-day basis.

“Our policy aim is about shifting that focus from IG professionals to frontline staff really understanding and having the confidence to do what they need to do,” she said.

“It’s in problem solving conundrums rather than compliance with the law. It’s for providing useful guidance and national templates where required. It’s not a national drive to say ‘You have to do it this way’, but that we develop a template with the people on the ground where there’s a need.”

She emphasised that this is not downplaying the importance of compliance and that NHSX will continue to work with IG professionals.

The relates to the IG elements of the NHSX data strategy that include the simplification of the issue to ensure more consistency in the sector, developing more frameworks and standards and providing training strategies for the frontline.

Success measures

In addition, Monaghan outlined seven success measures to determine what good IG looks life, that it is well lead, supports people, improves care and provides for healthy populations, smart foundations and safe practice, and – she emphasised as the key point – that it empowers citizens in the control of their data.

“The big drive over the next few years will be making sure individuals can get hold of their own data and make sure of what they and others do with it,” she said.

 

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