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Better use of data and technology has the power to improve health, transform the quality and reduce the cost of health and care services.

It can:

  • give patients and citizens more control over their health and wellbeing
  • empower carers
  • reduce the administrative burden for care professionals
  • support the development of new medicines and treatments
  • This framework has been developed based on evidence from many sources, including civil society and patient organisations, as well as directly from service users.

This is not a strategy in the conventional sense. It is not a national plan, but a framework for action that will support frontline staff, patients and citizens to take better advantage of the digital opportunity.

The National Information Board will report annually on progress made against the priorities detailed in this framework and review them each year to reflect changing technology and accommodate new requirements from the public and staff. The proposals in this framework are not comprehensive but they represent the core and immediate priorities for delivery of modern digital health and care services.

Executive Summary

One of the greatest opportunities of the 21st century is the potential to safely harness the power of the technology revolution, which has transformed our society, to meet the challenges of improving health and providing better, safer, sustainable care for all. To date the health and care system has only begun to exploit the potential of using data and technology at a national or local level. Our ambition is for a health and care system that enables people to make healthier choices, to be more resilient, to deal more effectively with illness and disability when it arises, and to have happier, longer lives in old age; a health and care system where technology can help tackle inequalities and improve access to services for the vulnerable.

The purpose of this paper is to consider what progress the health and care system has already made and what can be learnt from other industries and the wider economy. We then set out a series of proposals that will:

‘enable me to make the right health and care choices’ – citizens to have full access to their care records and access to an expanding set of NHS- accredited health and care apps and digital information services;

‘give care professionals and carers access to all the data, information and knowledge they need’ – real-time digital information on a person’s health and care by 2020 for all NHS-funded services, and comprehensive data on the outcomes and value of services to support improvement and sustainability;

‘make the quality of care transparent’ – publish comparative information on all publicly funded health and care services, including the results of treatment and what patients and carers say;

‘build and sustain public trust’ – ensure citizens are confident about sharing their data to improve care and health outcomes;

‘bring forward life-saving treatments and support innovation and growth’ – make England a leading digital health economy in the world and develop new resources to support research and maximise the benefits of new medicines and treatments, particularly in light of breakthroughs in genomic science to combat long-term conditions including cancer, mental health services and tackling infectious diseases;

‘support care professionals to make the best use of data and technology’ – in future all members of the health, care and social care workforce must have the knowledge and skills to embrace the opportunities of information;

‘assure best value for taxpayers’ – ensure that current and future investments in technology reduce the cost and improve the value of health services and support delivery of better health and care regardless of setting.

This framework explains how we, collectively, aim to deliver this change and what it will mean for patients, services users, citizens and professionals.

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