Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has highlighted plans for a federated data platform, a legal requirement for anonymised data sharing and the widespread use of the NHS number in adult social care.
Javid referred to the importance of data in integrated care systems (ICSs) in the sector, and said they would be supported by a federated platform for operational data, such as the number of hospital beds in an area or the availability of medical supplies, to support decision making.
The strategy says this should be in place by April 2023.
“This type of technology, already being piloted by the NHS, will allow organisations to co-ordinate care between them, ultimately freeing up more clinical time for care and helping ICSs to share data and learn more quickly from each other,” Javid said.
This is related to a commitment to give decision makers more sophisticated data to help plan services.
He also highlighted the intent to give health and care organisations a legal power to require that others, and commissioned private providers, send them anonymised information to support their research and operations.
“This will help us to smash silos and make sure that anonymous information can be shared more easily across the system,” he said.
Other legislative changes in the strategy are: for the secretary of state to require data from all regulated adult social care providers on the services they provide; to give NHS Digital the right to access social care data; to enable the organisation to require data from private healthcare providers when needed for an information system; and to give the secretary of state the right to mandate standards for the processing of information to private and public bodies delivering care.
Another important element in data sharing is to ensure it is only collected once then flows across the system. Javid said this would be supported by the NHS number being used universally across adult social care, and referred to his earlier announcement that 80% of social care providers should have a digitised care record integrated with the wider shared care record by March 2024.
He said basic shared care records are now in place across all ICSs and pointed to the provision of £25 million over the current financial year to support the digitisation push.
The strategy also involves a long list of commitments, including:
- implementation of secure data environments as default across the NHS;
- a data pact to set out to the public what to expect of the use of health and social care data;
- amendment of the Control of Patient Information (COPI) regulations "to facilitate timely and proportionate sharing of data";
- a central portal for data partnerships guidance;
- commercial principles to ensure safeguards in access to data for research and development;
- giving patients access to their GP data through the NHS App by November 2022;
- a national information governance transformation plan;
- a data sharing solution with local authorities;
- a digital skills framework for social care;
- a data framework for adult social care to be published in December 2022;
- publication of a standards and capabilities roadmap for digital social care record solutions;
- an online hub to support the growth of the analytics community;
- a data and analytics accelerator with the promotion of open data;
- making source code open and re-usable by default;
- publication of a digital playbook on how to open source code for health and care organisations;
- creation of at-scale datasets on different types of health data to develop new healthcare tools;
- bringing together genomics data to ensure it is fed back into patient records;
- development of a data orchestration layer and metadata catalogue to support data discovery and flows supported by APIs across health and social care.
Referring to the strategy as a whole, Javid said: “This landmark document will look at how we can build on the moment that we’ve seen and apply the twin lessons of recovery and reform.
“It’s a document with something for everyone, whatever part you play in health and care, and today I want to take you through some of the themes that underpin this new strategy.”