Health and social care - data strategy update: executive summary - easy read

Easy read version of the executive summary of the data strategy for health and social care 2024 update on the progress and priorities.

Health and social care: data strategy update executive summary: Easy Read


Data is facts, figures and information.

A strategy is a big plan.

Social care is services that support people with daily living so they can be as independent as possible.

It includes things like:

  • support at home from a paid carer with things like getting washed and dressed and using the toilet
  • personal alarms that someone can press if they have a fall
  • home adaptations like ramps, grab rails, stairlifts and walk-in showers

Scotland’s first Data Strategy for Health and Social Care was published in February 2023.

It sets out how data can be used to make care services better for the people of Scotland.

Our vision – what we want to see happen

We want people to have:

  • clear and easy access to their own health and social care data
  • the ability to manage and add to their health and social care data
  • we want to support health and social care staff to have the confidence and skills to get, use and share data to make services better
  • we want to make sure high quality data is:
    • kept safe and private
    • easy to get and to use for planning, research and new ways of working

Research means getting facts, figures and information about something.

Data will be used to:

  • develop new ways of working
  • make care services better
  • develop new treatments and technologies - machines, equipment and information that use scientific knowledge

This document sets out the progress we have made in our first year.

Making it easier for people to get data

Ethical standards are the rules about what is right and wrong.

We have developed guidelines on the ethical use of data.

This helps people to know that health and social care data is used in a good way.

We have started to work on a Digital Front Door plan which will be delivered by 2026.

Digital Front Door is 1 online way for people to:

  • get their health and care information
  • get health and care services

This will support people to:

  • look after their health conditions
  • see the decisions that are made about their care
  • make sure their records have the right information

We are developing an integrated social care and health record.

This means that people’s social care and health information will be in one place.

The record will:

  • allow you to make sure your data is correct
  • allow you to update some of the things that are important to you, like your protected characteristics data, where it is safe and right to do it
  • allow people to share their data with the staff involved in their care, so they only have to tell their story once
  • give staff access to the right data at the right time

We will test the record with a small number of people.

We are working to make sure data on protected characteristics is correct and complete so it can be used to:

  • treat everyone fairly
  • improve services for everyone

Find out more about protected characteristics in this Easy Read document.

Our work to support staff to use data well

We are developing the National Digital Platform – an online way for data to be stored.

This will make it easier for staff to get and use data from the health and care sector

We are making sure the National Digital Platform can store more data.

We want to collect data once and use it many times.

A data catalogue is being developed to make it easier to know what data is available.

We are making sure that staff have the skills and confidence to use data in the right way by having:

  • data skills training and resources
  • a Digital Data and Technology competency framework that sets out what digital skills are needed

A competency framework is a way to check the skills and knowledge that is needed to do a job well.

We developed a plan to progress the work in the National Information Governance Plan.

Governance is the rules about ways of working.

This work will:

  • make it easier for staff to understand their roles and responsibilities
  • give staff access to the data they need to deliver the best care possible
  • support organisations to share data safely

We are also developing the Cyber Centre of Excellence to build resilience and make sure data is safe and secure.

Resilience means coping well with difficult things.

The Seer 2 online system started in November 2023 to allow staff to get and analyse data easily.

Analyse means to check very carefully to understand it better.

The Shared Alarm Receiving Centre started in October 2023.

It supports the sharing of data across service providers, local councils and health boards.

Bringing data together in the National Digital Platform and Seer 2 allows staff to:

  • work better together
  • get the right data at right time, to plan and deliver services in the best way - for example showing:
  • how many people are being admitted to hospital
  • how many beds are available
  • how well Emergency Departments are working

We are developing more training and information to make sure staff have the right data skills.

We want to improve Information Governance so people:

  • understand when it is safe and right to share data
  • know how to keep data safe and secure

Making sure data is easy to get and use for research

The Public Benefit and Privacy Panel approve access to data for research purposes.

Research Data Scotland:

  • has checked the approvals process
  • has given recommendations for how it can be made better
  • has a new Researcher Access Service to make it faster and easier to get data for research

A Safe Haven is a secure computer system where NHS data can be linked with other data and made available for research.

The Safe Haven Charter sets out:

  • what Safe Havens do and how they work
  • how people’s identities are kept safe and private
  • how data is used ethically in ways that are good for the public

Work has started to:

  • change the Safe Haven Charter
  • start a scheme for NHS Data Safe Havens in Scotland to:
  • make the approvals process quicker and easier
  • make it quicker to use large amounts of NHS data
  • support safe and trusted access to medical information for private companies doing research
  • make sure people have confidence in the data controller

A data controller is the person who checks how data is used and makes sure the rules are followed.

The National Safe Haven has a collection of data on equalities so that research can be done on how equality is affected.

This work will:

  • make sure people trust the way we work
  • make sure our work is safe and secure
  • create better health and care services and experiences for everyone



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