The NHS Commissioning Board should have plans in place for all patients to have an integrated electronic record of their care that can follow them to any part of the NHS or social care system, by 2015.
The government mandate to the NHS CB, published today, says the board should promote the implementation of electronic records in all health and care settings and set national information standards to support integration.
By March 2015, “clear plans will be in place to enable secure linking of these electronic health and care records wherever they are held, so there is as complete a record as possible of the care someone receives.”
Plans will also be in place for those records to be able to follow individuals, with their consent, to any part of the NHS or social care system.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said this will not be achieved by imposing a single IT system.
Instead, national director for patients and information Tim Kelsey will be "making sure the systems all have a level of interoperability built into them so they can all talk to each other across the country."
“This will be an incredible step forward in terms of clinical safety and improving care, but how that happens will be different in different parts of the country,” said Hunt.
The mandate repeatedly highlights the need to embrace technology in order for the NHS CB to achieve its aims.
“In a digital age, it is crucial that the NHS not only operates at the limits of medical science, but also increasingly at the forefront of new technologies,” it says.
“The board’s objective is to achieve a significant increase in the use of technology to help people manage their health and care.”
The mandate repeats the government pledge that all patients who wish to will be able to get online access to their own health records held by their GP by 2015.
Everyone should be able to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions online as well as have “secure electronic communication with their GP practice, with the option of e-consultations becoming much more widely available.”
NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said GPs should not wait for further instructions from the centre, but “get on with it.”
When asked whether GPs could expect extra funding to help get these IT systems in place, he responded that this will be a matter for the board and local CCGs to work out.
In response to a question from eHealth Insider, Sir David acknowledged that there is a need to define what exactly is meant by “online access to their own health records held by the GP.”
However, he said the board is “not interested in a box-ticking approach”, but rather wants to get something that is useful to patients and will engage with patients regarding this.
Sir David also talked about the new ‘customer service platform’ being built by the NHS CB, which he called the “daughter of NHS Choices.”
Bob Gann, director of partnership and strategy at the NHS CB, told EHI Live 2012 that this would be a way for the public to engage with the NHS including feeding back about care experiences and booking appointments.
Sir David said NHS Choices has been “remarkably successful” but the NHS is moving towards a “completely different place” including integration with social care services and needs a "proper platform for patients" that integrates these different strands.
The mandate also says that significant progress will be made towards 3m people with long-term conditions being able to benefit from telehealth and telecare by 2017.
This will support them to manage their condition at home and reduce avoidable GP and hospital visits, it adds.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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