Guest blog by Bettina Sizeland – Head of eHealth Policy & Strategy, Scottish Government – as part of Scottish Digital Health & Care Week 2015.
We live in the digital age. At the same time, healthcare in Scotland is moving increasingly towards more multi-disciplinary team working, patient involvement and self-management. This requires us to become much better at sharing and using health information. Digital tools and IT systems are of great help to get the best value out of the vast data resource the NHS holds. Also, they could link professional care information with data recorded by patients themselves, e.g. through wearables or apps.
Electronic patient information in Scotland is managed by the NHS Boards and GPs, with the management arrangements governed by legislation and Scottish Government policy guidance. Where clinicians are handling and storing personal information provided by a patient, they are legally obliged to protect that information. However, there is also a “duty to share” to ensure decisions on care along the patient journey are based on information that is as up-to-date and complete as possible.
The strategic approach to digital patient information in Scotland has been to integrate an increasing number of key health care IT systems to enable this. National data services are in place to underpin information exchange between these systems. This includes the development over the last few years of several patient information summaries from the GP records for sharing with other care services, such as the ambulance and out-of-hours services.
So far, the ability for patients to contribute to their records held by NHS Scotland has been limited. We’re currently exploring how we can start to change this in the near future. This would include giving citizens the ability to view a summary of their medical record and, as a next step, to contribute information and data.
Please join the National Conversation and give us your views on what role you would see for yourself in ensuring your digital health record is complete and up-to-date.