Health & Social Care Information Sharing - A Strategic Framework 2014-2020

Information sharing, to meet the needs of people, practitioners and organisations, is

essential to support Scotland’s commitment to integrated, person-centred care,

across adult and children’s services. The focus of this Information Sharing Strategic Framework is on sharing information in support of people’s

interactions with care services.

Executive summary

The need for effective sharing of information has never been greater if we are to reform Scottish public services as required. With advances in technology and a drive towards greater partnership working, Scotland has the opportunity to deliver efficient solutions that meet the information sharing needs of practitioners to support safe efficient and effective care across children's and adult services. Good progress has been achieved in some areas to date, but further work is needed.

At a time when strategic leaders are forming new governance groups, such as new integrated partnership arrangements for health and social care, there is a clear case for the sharing of operationally-focussed information to best support improved outcomes for people.

This framework sets out the elements and considerations that will guide partnerships in developing their programmes of work. It sets out a delivery plan of actions and recommendations for the Scottish Government, local partnerships and organisations, and the Information Sharing Board (ISB), which owns this document and has steered its development. The concept of a maturity model is introduced to guide local progress and promote shared learning.

Section One sets the scene, and proposes a vision that by 2020, digitally enabled information sharing solutions will be in place in Scotland so that everyone, including citizens, involved in health and social care can:

  • access the services and information they require quickly and easily at the point it is needed, and in accordance with the law
  • provide or enter information once, which can then be shared and reused
  • share information appropriately, with the relevant people, for efficient, effective and safe care
  • have a common understanding of the information they share and confidence in its quality, integrity and security

Section Two provides an overview, principles and actions around six key themes to support this vision, with a detailed action plan provided in Section 3. The six key themes are:

1. Building partnerships

Local partnerships will need to consider information sharing as a key strand of their integrated governance arrangements, and will need to work together in regional groupings where appropriate, and build links with national collaboration groups, such as the ISB. They will also have to maintain close relationships with all of the other organisations with whom they will need to share information in order to deliver health and social care.

2. Putting people at the centre of their care

Partnerships will need to develop a public engagement element to their information sharing activities, and will have to consider the role that co-produced records will play in integrated arrangements, particularly in terms of involving people more directly in the sharing of their information.

The Scottish Government will work with partnerships to investigate current equalities, rights and how to involve people, and will develop plans for a public debate on how people should be enabled to play a greater role in creating and sharing health and care information.

3. Applying information governance

There is already considerable advice and guidance on information governance, however partnerships need to consider the data ownership implications of their new integrated governance arrangements, drawing upon advice from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Partnerships will use the ICO guidance on data sharing, both the Code of Practice and the statements in support of sharing for children's and adults' services, to form the core of their operational procedures for information sharing, and they should use the new ICO guidance on handling access requests to form the basis of their approach to requests for jointly held records.

The Scottish Accord on the Sharing of Personal Information (SASPI) will be promoted as the consistent approach to developing information sharing agreements across health and social care, and plans will be developed for promoting the Caldicott Principles across health and social care.

Partnerships will need to ensure appropriate links are being made to the work of the National Information and Intelligence Framework (NIIF), to inform decisions around business intelligence work, and Fair Processing Notices should cover the sharing of data for integrated care and analysis of information for joint planning decisions.

4. Developing and using standards

Standards will be developed to support the consistent exchange of information. The ISB will develop a clear position on ownership and governance of cross-sector standards, and will co-ordinate and produce standard approaches and supporting datasets for adults' and children's services. Proposals around local and national "matching" services, to correctly identify individuals, will be developed, for the ISB to consider

5. Exploiting information sharing infrastructure and technology

Organisations should put in place plans to connect to the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) for network infrastructure services, making the SWAN project team aware of issues which may need to be addressed as part of this process.

The ISB will coordinate the production of an information sharing architecture vision based on local partnerships requirements. It will also coordinate plans for the development of common interfaces, to deliver the technology components for information sharing.

Partnerships will need to consider the current sector-specific challenges when developing their work programme on information sharing. They should also make links with plans on mobile working across their locality, so that prioritised plans for information sharing in support of mobile working can be developed, based on local needs.

6. Working collaboratively to drive progress

A maturity model to guide local progress and promote shared learning has been developed, and will be updated based on the consultation responses. The ISB will also develop a repository of documents and products, to support collaboration across partnerships. Resource requirements for both information sharing start-up activity and on-going costs will need to be factored in to partnership plans

How to safely handle information should be embedded as a concept in practitioner training, at an early stage, and the Scottish Government will work with workforce colleagues at a local and national level to understand what impact improved information handling and sharing capabilities have on policies and procedures.

The existing work around Safe Information Handling will be evaluated to assess its suitability for cross-sector use.

Information Sharing - Initial Delivery Plan - Overview

Information Sharing initial delivery plan Overview


Email: Alan Milbourne

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