The Department of Health has set out the information requirements for child health information systems in the new NHS.
The document, published last week, is to be followed by an outline business specification covering the technical requirements for child health systems.
The DH says it wants to deliver consistency in functionality and efficacy of child health information systems as responsibility for commissioning child health systems passes to the NHS Commissioning Board from April 2013.
It says England currently has approximately 99 child health information systems with a range of suppliers and system types involving at least 17 external suppliers of which the top three suppliers have installed 55% of the systems in place.
The document sets out functionality requirements for all elements of child health systems including newborn examinations, the newborn bloodspot screening programme, the newborn hearing screening programme, immunisation, health promotion, support for looked after children and disability. It says the requirements are based on a consensus across professional bodies as well as national standards, statutory requirements and information sharing rules.
The document has been produced by the DH’s Child Health Information Systems Transition Steering Group which took over from a Connecting for Health project to outline the universal information requirements for child health systems.
The group has also listed proposed core content for a shared record. It says a shared record system would need to be able to exchange information electronically with other systems, enable appropriate access by multiple professionals, produce a summary report of individual children, mean information would only have to be recorded once and allow parents, carers and young people to access their health records online.
The document adds: “No decision has yet been taken as to whether amending contracts for existing CHIS to use such a shared record in the future will be viable, beneficial or affordable.”
The group states that it does not propose a centralised reporting repository or single IT system for the collection and storage of information on children’s health but focuses on securing consistency in records across the country.
The decision to pass commissioning responsibility for child health systems to the NHS Commissioning Board is to be reviewed in April 2015 and the aim is to begin involving local authorities in commissioning of such services in partnership with the NHS.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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