Health and social care - data strategy: 2024 update - progress and priorities

An update on progress in the first year of Scotland's first data strategy for health and social care and future priorities.

Success so far

A year on from publication we have taken some important foundational steps to advance us towards achieving the vision and ambitions of the Strategy.

Ethical approaches to data remain core to our Strategy. We have continued to champion the ethical use of data and have prioritised exploring ways in which we can improve the quality and completeness of data, starting with race and ethnicity data. This will lay the groundwork for capturing this data in a centralised manner, this could then be replicated and expanded to capture wider protected characteristics data in the long term which will help us to reduce inequalities across delivery of care within health and social care.

We continue to improve our technology and infrastructure to enable easier access and sharing of data for staff. Work is continuing on the development of an Integrated Social Care and Health Record which will prevent people having to retell their stories. Additionally, it will make it easier for staff and those providing social care support to access the right data at the right time, to deliver the best care possible. Engagement has taken place to allow us to understand what the public, professionals and those providing social care support need from Integrated Record. We will now move into an initial testing phase which will enable us to understand key components for capturing and sharing data via the Integrated Record so that we can later set out a roadmap for delivery.

As well as working towards improving access to data for professionals, we have progressed work to understand the technical requirements for developing a Digital Front Door to allow people to digitally interact with their health and social care data. This will allow us to develop a prototype to test the Digital Front Door in 2024-25 in preparation for making the service available to members of the public by the end of 2025. This service will underpin the delivery of many of our other digital and data ambitions.

We recognise that to truly make best use of data it is not enough to improve systems and that staff must also have the confidence and skills to use data effectively. We have continued to develop, expand, and share learning and development resources across health and care as part of our Digital Skills & Leadership aim. This will ensure we have the right level of digital and data skills for all staff and that appropriate leadership is in place to sustain and transform our services.

Finally, we have improved the process for researchers and innovators to access data through our recently launched Researcher Access Service. This is the first step in enabling easier access to data, at pace, allowing research to be undertaken to support development of better treatments and new innovative ways of working. We can then build upon this work to further explore how we can improve the approvals process and expand on the data coverage available through the Safe Havens to support data-driven research that will improve delivery of health and social care across Scotland.

We acknowledge the complex landscape of health and social care and understand that there is still a long way to go to achieve the vision and ambition of the Strategy. However, taking a step-by-step approach we will continue to build upon our successes so far as we move into the second year of the Strategy. We must also recognise the financial and resource challenges faced in delivering the actions set out in the Strategy, in light of the current economic climate. Through our governance, we will prioritise key programmes of work that provide the best value, while delivering the greatest impact to support the sector to make better use of data. Going forward, we will also set out how we can best measure the impact that implementation of deliverables is having across the health and social care sector as a whole. This will help us to better understand the number of people that have benefited as a result and demonstrate the impact the strategy is having.

Priority Action Areas



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