New standards for integrating key health and social care information will ensure services can work together better to provide more personalised care.
The new national standards have been introduced to ensure that information is recorded and shared in a clear and consistent way across health and social care. This means professionals will have a full picture of a person’s needs, enabling them to provide safer and individually tailored care.
Sam Bergin Goncalves, citizen lead on the project and mum to 22-year-old Shane, a user of health and social care services, said: ‘Improved care is where people are listened to, valued, and understood. It means goals and health ambitions are taken into account and support is offered to help achieve them.’
The standards have been commissioned and led by NHS Digital and produced by the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB).
More than 1,000 people, including frontline health workers, patients, and carers, helped develop the new standards as part of a consultation that also involved clinical and professional groups, charities, suppliers, and researchers.
The five new standards will ensure important personal details, such as the need for additional social care support after a person’s hospital stay, will be recorded and shared with their care team.
Other important non-medical information can also be included, such as a photo and details about work, family or friends, or the ways a person usually behaves when they are in good physical and mental health. This will provide professionals with a better understanding of the person, not just their illness or condition.
The new standards cover:
- ‘About me’ – the personal details that a person would like to be recorded about themselves
- Health and care information shared in care homes
- Information shared by local authorities
- Referrals for community assessments for care and support after a hospital stay
- The urgent information needed when a person is transferred to a hospital from a care home
Professor Adam Gordon, vice president at the British Geriatrics Society and clinical lead on the project, said: ‘This standardised information will help everyone involved in care to access the information they need to help people to live the best possible lives they can.
‘From crucial information about medication and its effects, right through to daily goals and aspirations, it will help to ensure that everyone can be treated as an individual.’
Sam Bergin Goncalves added: ‘Shane is loving and affectionate and enjoys gardening, baking, swimming, and visiting museums. He has cerebral palsy, visual impairment, and severe learning difficulty.
‘Over the years it has been difficult navigating through a system that is obsessed with labels. We have found that clinicians will record data that they find useful, and the health and social care system will prioritise keeping someone safe, with little room for dreams and aspirations.’
Comprehensive shared information will enable Sam’s son, other service users, and their families to get the additional support they need in a way that works for them.
James Palmer, head of the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: ‘The development of these standards marks a major step forward for social care, supporting better care for service users and wider use of shared digital records across the UK.
‘Several areas across the UK have already begun implementing the standards, resulting in improvements to well-being and health and care. The learning from these pilots will be shared across the country.’
The development of the standards is part of NHS Digital’s Digital Social Care Pathfinders Programme, in which funding to roll out local digital projects has been awarded to 16 organisations that provide and commission adult social care services.
The pathfinders have previously piloted products and services and are now implementing them on a larger scale, many using these standards to support interoperability.
The new standards for information shared by local authorities and ‘about me’ will be incorporated into the existing shared record standard, known as the core information standard, which was published in 2019.
The other standards will be published separately.
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