How information about you helps us provide better care?
Frequently asked questions for patients:
1. Why do I need to read the leaflet ‘how information about you helps us provide better care’?
It is important that you read the leaflet so that you understand how information in medical records is used. Your records are already used by healthcare staff to provide your care. You also need to know how your information can be used to improve the way the NHS delivers care to all patients.
If you are happy for your information to be used to improve health services then you do not need to do anything. However, it is important that you know this is happening and what to do if you have any questions or concerns (See FAQ 14).
2. Why is information collected?
It is important that the people who plan and manage the NHS have access to a full picture of the care being provided to patients so that they can make sure that the NHS is providing the best possible services to all of its patients. They can only do this by using information, for example to compare the care received in one area to the care received in another area to see what worked better.
Information in health records is also valuable for carrying out research into the treatments offered for different diseases and illnesses.
3. What is changing?
Patient information is already used extensively by the NHS but we need to improve how we use the information. This improvement and modernisation is happening in a number of ways.
A modern information system has been developed by the NHS in England, which will make increased use of information from medical records with the intention of improving health services. You may have heard this system referred to as care.data.
One of the main aims of the new system is to allow the NHS to make better use of the routine information collected when you visit your doctor. The system complies with strict confidentiality rules and the law.
This service will provide joined-up information about the care received from all of the different parts of the health service, including hospitals and GP practices. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) (see FAQ 6) is working with NHS England to deliver the care.data service.
Separate to care.data, information that does not identify you may be made available to approved researchers in a secure system called the “Clinical Practice Research Datalink” or CPRD. This system is not new but it is important you understand that this happens.
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