Improvements to NHS digital can deliver better patient access

female patient listening to her medical record
© Monkey Business Images

NHS Digital has planned to merge with NHS England in January 2023 to increase support for patients online

Data sharing processes are about to be improved across the NHS, which is sure to benefit patients with better data protection safeguards with the merging of NHS digital and NHS England.

These plans to transform NHS data imply that patients are to receive more streamlined care both in person and online and receive more information about their medical choices.

A single statutory body responsible for data and digital technology for the NHS

Patients will receive a streamlined experience due to a reduced need to repeatedly share information across the health system, as well as the ability to make more informed choices about care by providing information about the length of wait for treatment, making waiting lists by speciality and by provider, more accessible – a key part of the government’s plan for patients.

The merge should also promote easier access to electronic patient records through accelerated digital transformation services for patients

Digital transformation during the pandemic driving data efficiency

It has been proven that digitally mature providers are 10% more efficient than their less digitally mature peers, as they have faster improvements in cooperation.

NHS digital will ensure the health and care sector is fully equipped to face the future and deliver for patients.

NHS England will provide the same protections for people’s data as NHS Digital, are they are to work closely with partners – like the Information Commissioner and the National Data Guardian, DHSC and NHSE – to improve internal controls to ensure that data is used and shared safely, securely and appropriately to:

• deliver high-quality care
• understand and protect the health of the population
• effectively plan and improve services
• research and develop innovative treatments, vaccines and diagnostics

Supporting the recovery of NHS services

The changes will better support the recovery of NHS services, address waiting list backlogs, and support hardworking staff, all while driving an ambitious agenda of digital transformation and progress forwards.

This merging of NHS digital and NHS England is subject to parliamentary approval and agreement with the devolved administration, aiming to make use of the data collected by health and social care services, improving the health of the population.


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