Using standards to make care safer and more personalised

Featured article - 29 May 2020
By Professor Maureen Baker CBE, Chair, Professional Record Standards Body

Professor Maureen Baker CBE, Chair, Professional Record Standards Body

At the moment the world is battling the most serious public health crisis it has faced in more than a century. As chair of PRSB and a retired GP, I responded to the call for help and have been working with NHS 111 to provide clinical advice to callers who suspect they have COVID-19. This is just one of the ways all of us in health and social care services are adapting to the situation so that we can save lives.

Information sharing is essential in a pandemic, whether it’s for caring for the sick and vulnerable or tracking and suppressing the spread of the virus. I’ve been a huge supporter of digital transformation throughout my career, but the speed of progress in developing and spreading digital solutions to address COVID-19 has been nothing short of breath-taking.

Sharing information

At the PRSB, the organisation responsible for developing standards for health and care records, we recognise that sharing information about COVID-19 across the system will help care staff, doctors, and nurses to keep people safe. It will also provide data for future research that will help us to manage future outbreaks. During the pandemic we have been working closely with NHS Digital to develop new guidance to help health and social care professionals record information about COVID-19 in a precise way that can be shared digitally between different systems. The guidance we have produced can be found here, and can be used by all health and social care professionals across the four nations.

The coronavirus crisis has also highlighted other gaps in our health and care system. For example, poor information sharing between care homes and hospitals. The PRSB is currently working on a series of standards which will improve information sharing between social care and health care to better connect the two. Through speaking to doctors, nurses, social workers, carers, other professionals and the people actually using social services, we have found out what information needs to be shared in order to create better joined-up services.

Whether standardised information is used in coronavirus crisis care, or to better facilitate people’s day to day lives in the community, the PRSB knows that is the backbone of good, personalised care. We develop all our standards and guidance with the support of professionals and people who use health and care services. For more information on how to get involved with our work, please email us at info@theprsb.org.

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