Patients will have better access and greater control over their health and care data under new proposals announced by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Under the proposals, patients will easily be able to access their test results, medication lists, procedures and care plans from across all parts of the health system through patient apps, such as the NHS App, by ensuring data is shared safely and more effectively across the system. By improving their access to data, people will also be able to manage appointments, refill medications and speak with health and care staff when needed.
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‘Data saves lives. More effective use of data will deliver better patient focused care. It will free up staff time to focus on patients and allow clinicians to make better, more informed decisions on treatment and support,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
‘The pandemic has taught us we must be bold and the great strides we have made on vaccines and treatments during this time have been made possible by the way we use data. This strategy seeks to put people in control of their own data, while supporting the NHS in creating a modernised system fit for the 21st century which puts patients and staff in pole position.’
The strategy aims to break down data barriers and give patients confidence that health and care staff have up-to-date medical information, regardless of the care setting, enabling clinicians to make quicker, more informed decisions to deliver better treatment. Improving data collection and the way NHS systems work together will mean staff spend less time collecting and looking for information they need, so they can spend more time with those they are caring for to focus on looking after them.
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‘Throughout the pandemic we saw examples of data improving care and saving lives – from the speed of vaccine development to the discovery of treatments for COVID-19. If we want to continue improving care, we need to transform how we use data,’ said Matthew Gould, NHSX chief executive.
‘Patients need to own their data, have access to their data, and have confidence on how the NHS is handling it on their behalf. This strategy takes this agenda firmly forward, and is good news for patients, staff, citizens and anyone who cares about the future of the NHS.’