‘Information revolution’ could lead to online access to care records


Disabled people could soon have online access to information about their care that is held by social services departments, as part of an “information revolution” planned across adult social care and the NHS.

In a consultation document laying out the principles behind its new information strategy, the Department of Health (DoH) calls for service-users to be given “comprehensive information” about their own care and the availability and quality of services, so they can “take control and make informed decisions”.

Disabled people will eventually have online access to their own needs assessments and care plans that have been drawn up by social services departments, and will be able to communicate with social services online or by email, although the document warns that many service-users will “either need or prefer face-to-face contact”.

The consultation document, Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution, “makes clear” that people should be given more control over their care records, and that care quality will improve if more data is published.

It says that “unleashing information” will support efficiency by “helping people to care for themselves and by driving up the quality of service provision through increased transparency and innovation”.

The document says that organisations representing service-users will be able to use the new information to hold poorly-performing care providers to account and put them “under increased public scrutiny”.

Peter Beresford, chair of Shaping Our Lives, the national service-user and disabled people’s network, welcomed the consultation, and another on giving patients greater choice and control over their NHS treatment.

He said the consultations “offer a significant opportunity for the wide range of disabled people and service users, including seldom heard voices, to contribute their views, ideas and experience to this important and timely exercise”.

Christine Connelly, the DoH’s director general for informatics, said: “Building from a base of accurate care records, the ‘information revolution’ will deliver more informed patients, more engaged professionals, more efficient organisations and, ultimately, improved outcomes.”

19 October 2010