Shared records exemplar programme to address failures in linking up data with delivery of care

Chief Information Officer for Health and Care in England Will Smart speaks at the UK e-Health Week conference about the new Local Health and Care Record Exemplar programme expected to underpin the move towards a ‘data-led’ NHS.
By Leontina Postelnicu
01:37 PM
Will Smart at UK Health Week.

[London, UK] The new Local Health and Care Record Exemplar (LHCRE) programme will address failures - with the exception of primary care - in linking up 'the capture of data with the delivery of care’ across the system, UK e-Health Week delegates heard today (16 May).

Speaking at the conference, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Health and Care in England Will Smart admitted that they had ‘failed to digitise secondary care to any consistent level across the country’.

In spite of that, the CIO said that, by the end of this year, the NHS would see the first sites reaching Stage 7 of the HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), described as ‘the benchmark of excellence that’s comparable globally’.

Only three organisations in the UK have reached Stage 6 of the EMRAM so far - Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Hospitals worlwide have to achieve Stage 6 before they can be recognised at the next level of the EMRAM. 

From a digital perspective, Smart said that the challenge would be, along with improving the use of technology across secondary care, connecting and integrating data, making use of information more intelligently, and empowering citizens to interact with the NHS in new ways.  

The future digitally enabled NHS strategy is expected to tackle these four issues, with the CIO focusing during his talk on the collection and intelligent use of data, starting with the LHCREs.

The CIO said that the vision would be to have comprehensive, longitudinal records for all citizens across the country during the next four years.

“The thing about exemplars is that they’re not things that we pick out of the air, they’re things that we’re already doing,” he added. 

More than 60 initiatives across the country are said to be ‘doing fantastic work’ on shared care records, although only ten different communities are reported to have submitted bids for the LHCRE programme, covering 4% of England, all with ‘some real strengths’ and some areas for improvements.

But the biggest barriers remain building consistency across the system, breaking down silos, and improving the confidence of the public that their data is securely stored at all times. 

“Our challenge is, we have a trust issue and a transparency issue with citizens, so there’s been a lot of nervousness following whether the NHS is in a position where we want to start talking about sharing data at scale," the CIO said, urging NHS organisations to drive a positive message around data sharing, under strict controls, to support system-wide transformation.

“We absolutely need to be driving a positive message as to why it is in all of our interests to share this data, so we need to drive trust.”

Admitting that the overall exemplar programme started with areas that had already gotten investment, however, the CIO said the plan was to build on areas that could ‘get to the end point and then use that as a template’ for other regions, with the help of local leadership:

“Sometimes our job [in the centre] is to set the vision, the ambition and to be clear about what the standards are."