London CCGs urged to embrace NHS digital data-sharing scheme ‘even if all you can do is create a PDF’

Written by Sam Trendall on 12 October 2017 in News

London Health and Care Information Exchange is also developing offer online accounts for patients

As it prepares to launch across the capital next month, the London Health and Care Information Exchange (HCIE) has claimed that all NHS entities can benefit from the data-sharing programme – “even if the only thing you can do is create a PDF”.

The scheme is also in the early stages of creating a platform giving citizens an online account through which to view and manage how their information is shared.

HCIE is creating a centralised information exchange platform for all of London’s 7,000 or so NHS organisations to manage their information-sharing agreements, and move data between parties. The programme, which was first unveiled last year and is due to launch in full next month, is intended to replace about 30 smaller-scale local schemes.

The Healthy London Partnership, which is running the HCIE initiative, claims that the effectiveness of the existing roster of local data-sharing platforms is limited by the fact that many patients receive care from various providers across different parts of the city – that likely do not share information with one another.

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HCIE is intended to allow London’s 32 clinical commissioning groups (CCG) to manage their existing data-sharing agreements and forge new ones. The platform will also make it easier to create and maintain a wide variety of arrangements with subtly differing levels of openness, according to Mike Part, head of digital for the London region at NHS England.

“This architecture allows you to control at quite a granular level what data you are sharing, and with whom. You can switch off sharing with [certain] people,” he said.

Part added the scheme is not in the business of “creating a data lake”, but rather wishes to provide a “strategic platform” for NHS bodies to share their own data with one another. And even the most digital-sceptic of CCGs can benefit from HCIE, he said.

“We are trying to get data to move around the system. How do we show the transfer of care?,” Part said. “If you a legacy organisation using legacy standards – even if the only thing you can do is create a PDF – we can move that around for you.”

A scheme offering patients their own online account to see how their information is being shared is currently in alpha stage, he added. The system will use GOV.UK’s Verify identity-assurance technology.

“We are trying to make it as user-friendly as possible,” he said. “[We are examining] how do we build trust with the patients? Lots of people are concerned about information-sharing.”


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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