NHS Scotland’s updated digital strategy emphasises the importance of good quality health care data for both patients and planners
“We believe citizens should have access to and control over, their own health and care data – including the ability to view and update information contained in their records, and access information such as test results, letters and treatment and/or care plans." Jonathan Cameron, NHS Scotland’s interim director for digital health and social care
NHS Scotland has published an updated digital strategy, which has a stronger focus on digital inclusion. The document states that it recognises the problems that come from digital exclusion and that “digital inclusion, now more than ever, must be at the heart of what we do.”
The document says that its vision is: “To improve the care and wellbeing of people in Scotland by making best use of digital technologies in the design and delivery of services.”
It has three broad aims:
The strategy makes a commitment to constantly improving, innovating and evolving. It says the NHS will also make better use of data, including both data it already holds and data not routinely held at present. Staff will be involved in the design of tools, technologies and services that support them.
Digital solutions are necessary to rebuilding society after the pandemic, the strategy says, adding: “We have to address long-standing issues such as an ageing population, stalling healthy life expectancy, persisting health inequalities and a drugs death crisis. Additionally, as a result of Covid-19 there are additional mental health challenges, long-Covid and the population health impact of the treatment backlog. We will not meet these challenges without digital being part of the solution.”
NHS Scotland is also planning a new data strategy, focused on “decisions required to deliver interoperability and information sharing across Scotland’s health and social care services”. It will hold a wider engagement programme in three stages: information-gathering through workshops and meetings; testing of messages through follow-up workshops and meetings; and a formal online consultation accompanied by face-to-face or virtual workshops with those who do not want to participate online.
Jonathan Cameron, NHS Scotland’s interim director for digital health and social care, said: “We believe citizens should have access to and control over, their own health and care data – including the ability to view and update information contained in their records, and access information such as test results, letters and treatment and/or care plans. We will outline how we will ‘democratise access’ by laying the groundwork for a radical shift in the power dynamic between the ‘state’ largely controlling how and when data is used, to one where citizens are in far greater control over their own data.”