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.

Information Standards and Interoperability

We will improve the quality of our health and social care data and increase interoperability through adoption and use of common standards, making it easier to re-use and link data.

What we have achieved so far

In our first year we have:

  • Data Standards Sub-board. The Scottish Government and COSLA stood up a data standards sub-board to identify, assure and set out the preferred standards for use across the health and social care sector. The sub-board have undertaken an initial scoping exercise to understand the current standards landscape and are in the early stages of developing an assurance process. We are engaging with four nations partners who are further ahead in their journey to understand best practice for implementing our assurance process. The Sub-board will provide relevant governance for setting out standards, in doing so this will bring consistency to standards which are implemented and used across health and social care in Scotland which will drive up interoperability and make it easier for organisations to exchange data. A similar data standards board has been set up in Local Government to set out the definition and promote adoption of standards across the whole of Local Government. There are suitable links across both standards boards to ensure a complementary and consistent approach is taken where appropriate.
  • SNOMED CT. Implementing SNOMED CT will ensure that data recording practices are aligned to international practice, which will facilitate better interoperability as data will be recorded using common terminologies. The SNOMED CT Programme team have undertaken extensive engagement throughout 2023 to raise awareness and identify opportunities for implementation of SNOMED CT across healthcare settings. The annual delivery plan has been developed which sets out the agreed actions and outcomes for the programme of work. The terminology server is now set up and work is underway with the Laboratory and Information Management Systems programme and within child health to map codes to SNOMED CT. Recruitment is underway to enable development of a Virtual Centre of Excellence that will support and guidance to organisations that are ready to implement SNOMED CT.
  • Telecare Information Framework. The Telecare Information Framework (TIF) was launched in July 2023 to facilitate person-centred, personalised, and integrated health and social care. The data can be used by staff in Telecare and other health and social care agencies to inform responses, through an up-to-date account of the person’s characteristics and circumstances. The data within the TIF draws upon information gathered through assessments and referrals and makes use of common identifiers such as the CHI or social work number. The use of common identifiers supports appropriate sharing and links the data across systems enabling the data to be used as an active source of intelligence at service and Partnership level, and at National level for policy and reporting purposes.

How this helps to achieve our vision

In Scotland, we lacked a governance and assurance process that allows for the setting out of nationally agreed data standards. Establishing the Data Standards Sub-board is an important first step in moving towards our vision and achieving a more interoperable environment across health and social care. However, the size of the task for Scotland to catch up is significant, and we know that this is only the first step. Through the delivery and agreement of standards such as the Telecare Information Framework, we will test cases for implementing our assurance process, alongside our long-term ambitions on both SNOMED CT and ICD 11, which we have continued to progress in our first year.

What’s next for 2024-25?

Our priority for 2024-25 is to:

  • Data Standards Sub-board. Work will continue to develop an assurance process for identifying and recommending the preferred standards for use across health and social care. This will include, publishing standards and strengthening our relations with four nations partners to adopt best practice.
  • Scan for Safety Programme. GS1 standards – Work will continue to implement Point of Care (PoC) scanning within four Health Boards and to develop a medical device data hub to store and use Scan for Safety data that will be captured through the PoC scanning process. A national data reporting framework will be developed for medical devices and equipment which captures and presents agreed data sets at local and national level.
  • SNOMED CT and ICD 11 implementation. Work will continue throughout 2024 and beyond to implement SNOMED CT in Primary Care. PHS will continue to engage with UK partners to understand the implications of the transition from ICD 10 to ICD11. There is no official implementation date for ICD 11 in the UK; however it is estimated to take around 5 years.



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