The Scottish Government should implement a digital strategy that enables improved sharing of health records across primary care.
The call to “enable more informed and safer decisions to be made by practitioners and patients” comes from 18 health organisations, representing more than 60,000 primary care clinicians working across Scotland.
They have jointly responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation A Digital Strategy for Scotland 2017 and beyond, outlining the “urgent need to radically transform the digital infrastructure to support multidisciplinary healthcare services”.
The response outlines the current challenges in health and social care and demonstrates how improved digital infrastructure and access to information could improve healthcare services and increase efficiency within the NHS.
Health and Social Care 2017: Supporting digital transformation
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Alex MacKinnon, director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland, said: “With today’s increasingly complex care it is now more important than ever that essential information is shared to enable efficient assessment, care and treatment wherever people are in our health care system.
“The examples provided from across all the professions demonstrate why the Digital Strategy for Scotland 2017 and beyond needs to speed up the pace of change. With so many health and social professionals now involved in patient care we simply need to have a digital infrastructure that enables us to work as one team.”
Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, added: “All healthcare professionals routinely record important information about an individual’s care, which could often be either useful or even crucial to other health or social care professionals involved in their care.
“However, often this information is held in separate systems and cannot easily be shared. Information on when a person is admitted to or leaving hospital is not always shared or available in a timely manner, which can lead to changes in care not being recorded.
“This has implications particularly for frail older people or people with complex care needs who are at risk of re-admission to hospital.”
Dr Miles Mack, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland, said: “People need to be confident that their health records are safe and confidential. However, they also want to know that those involved in their care have all the necessary information to provide the best care and keep them safe.”
Dawn Mitchell, convener of the Allied Health Professions Federation Scotland, said: “We hope that our joint response is a helpful contribution to developing the new strategy and together we are committed to working with Scottish Government, with colleagues across health and social care, and with the public to turn our aspirations into a reality in our future public service delivery.”