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.

Data Access

We want to empower individuals and professionals to make better informed decisions by providing access to the right data at the right time.

What we have achieved so far

In our first year we have:

  • Integrated Social Care and Health Record. One of the ways that we are seeking to improve access to data for both the public and professionals is through development of an Integrated Social Care and Health Record. This Integrated Record will provide professionals with access to the right data at the right time. For members of the public, the Integrated Record will provide the ability to contribute to their Integrated Record, where it is appropriate to do so, to allow delivery of person-centred care. In the first year we have built on the work and engagement already carried out as part of the design of the National Care Service to explore the requirements of developing an Integrated Social Care and Health Record. Planning for an initial release of the Integrated Record for testing with a small audience is progressing. This component-based approach means there will not be a ‘big bang’ delivery day but rather a gradual building of services. An initial outline business case will be reviewed through governance processes. The mechanism for accessing the Integrated Record for the public will be via the Digital Front Door.
  • Digital Front Door (DFD). Work continues on the Digital Front Door programme, with emphasis now shifting to the delivery of a beta release by November 2025. The programme is focussing on individual’s access to data and communication (for example digital letters). In doing so, the programme is establishing important foundations on which several other deliverables of the Data Strategy are dependent.
  • Primary Care Data. Work is currently underway to move towards a single supplier for General Practice IT. As of January 2024, 158 General Practices have made the transition to the new supplier across four Health Boards (Lanarkshire, Lothian, Grampian, and Tayside). Work also continues on developing a Primary Care Data and Intelligence Platform that will provide a single, integrated analytical capability for General Practice data across Scotland. The Platform will provide controlled access to the data within the General Practice patient record necessary for staff working in General Practices, and those working within Public Health Scotland (PHS), Business Intelligence Teams, NHS Education for Scotland (NES), and Trusted Research Environments to do their jobs effectively. Additionally, work continues to develop a FHIR interface for storing and exchanging Emergency Care Summary and Key Information Summary Data via the National Digital Platform which will make it easier for other health and care systems to access and use primary care data across the wider health and social care sector.
  • Data Catalogue. COSLA’s Digital Office and Improvement Service have been working collaboratively to explore how to better manage the data returns that are submitted to statutory bodies. A data catalogue which publishes meta data is being developed which will make it easier for local councils to understand what data is required and identify opportunities to simplify data returns and enable better use of the existing data.

How this helps to achieve our vision

Information systems across health and social care do not currently make it easy to access and share data across organisations within the sector. By increasing our understanding of the existing data available and improving our technologies for storing and accessing data, this makes it easier for both professionals and individuals to access the right data at the right time. For example, developing an Integrated Social Care and Health Record provides a single view of the relevant data, prevents individuals from having to retell their story and enables professionals and those involved in providing social care support to make informed decisions about delivery of care. Whilst Digital Front Door supports individuals to understand their health and care needs allowing them to better self-manage their conditions and share relevant data with those involved in their care.

What’s next for 2024-25?

Our priority for 2024-25 is to:

  • Development of a Central Data Catalogue. To continue to open up access to data, NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) and Public Health Scotland (PHS) will undertake discovery work to explore the technology options to support development of a central data catalogue for health and social care that will set out data that is available on an open basis. This will increase awareness of existing data, reduce variance in the number of data collections and enable better data linkage and comparisons of data across health and social care.
  • Integrated Social Care and Health Record. Work will begin to develop a prototype of the Integrated Record. Co-design of the Integrated Record will continue throughout 2024-25 to ensure that the design of the Integrated Record meets the needs of both the individuals and professionals.
  • Digital Front Door. Work will continue to develop a prototype of Digital Front Door focusing on individuals’ access to data. It is expected that an initial Beta release will be available to the public by the end of 2025.
  • General Practice IT. We will continue to roll out and embed General Practice IT as part of our wider ambition to unlock the value of primary care data, recognising that we must also improve our infrastructure, data quality and data literacy to truly unlock the value of data. More information on the steps we are taking can be found in the Technology and Infrastructure, Data Standards and Talent and Culture sections of this document.



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