People want to see the benefits that digital information sharing can bring embraced by health and social care, just as they’ve seen them in other parts of their lives.

The NHS and social care are poised to transform care for each of us from birth to the end of life, and using information and technology better is central to these changes. Deciding what information should be shared between the NHS, social care and people who use services and how it can be shared safely is fundamental.

The PRSB was commissioned by NHS England to define the information that should be shared, called a ‘core information standard’, by consulting widely with people who use services, health and care professionals. As a UK-wide body, PRSB consulted on the standard across the four nations, because people’s health and care is provided across geographical boundaries and the information needed to provide safe, high quality care should follow the person.

The standard defines a set of information that may be shared between systems in different sites and settings, and with professionals and people using services. What information is accessed will differ depending on who is accessing it, for what reason and the wishes of the person the information is about. Its use will be decided locally; the Local Health and Care Record (LHCR) localities, under NHS England’s LHCR programme, will set plans to adopt it early. After that, the standard will be rolled out nationally and can be used across the UK.

The project was carried out in two phases: the first phase reviewed evidence from existing standards and shared care records in order to produce a draft core information standard. The second phase of work developed the standard in key areas where it was seen that further work was needed (e.g. mental health and social care).

Defining a core information standard for use in shared care records is complex, important and challenging work, not only because of the scale of the information it contains but also because of the effects it might have when used. The report details the issues raised during the consultation and makes recommendations which should form essential reading for any organisations creating shared care records. These include: implementation and usability, information governance and safeguarding, ownership and control of data, data quality and accuracy, professional best practice and training, the effect on person-centred care, and addressing potential barriers to sharing information between health and social care.

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