In order to deliver the best care today and in the future, it is vital that our health and care services are able to share information easily and that we can use data to plan and change services to better meet people’s needs.
Whilst there are examples of services working in a more digitally integrated way within localities, this hasn’t yet been fully achieved to a consistent standard across the entirety of Greater Manchester. Because we don’t have an integrated shared care record, often patients need to repeatedly tell their story to different professionals and their care plans may not be properly followed. Professionals themselves also find they don’t have access to the information they need to provide the best care and treatment. Services within different parts of the system aren’t properly joined up, so it makes it more difficult for clinicians to identify patterns, be alerted to issues and plan care effectively.
To drive forward improvements, Greater Manchester is now embarking on an ambitious plan to digitally integrate health and care services across all 10 localities and sectors (primary care, community, mental health, social care and acute). This will be achieved by creating an ‘Interoperability Hub’ that will help to connect all of the different systems used by health and care providers so they can exchange data more easily and safely, without having to actually change the system they already use.
At the same time, we will also be establishing an ‘Innovation Hub’ that will significantly enhance how we use data to transform services and provide better care to our citizens. This includes having access to robust data for use in groundbreaking research, as well as innovation projects that will attract industry partners and implement change at pace and scale.
Just as we recognise the benefits that upgrading technology can bring, we must also ensure our systems are robust and that personal health and care data is always fully protected and secure. Data from the NHS and care providers should only ever be shared safely, securely and lawfully, respecting an individual’s choice of what is shared, and that we are open about how it is being used. Therefore, a single approach to Information Governance will be adopted across Greater Manchester.
The programme is being delivered through a partnership between Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Health Innovation Manchester.
A GM Health and Social Care Digital Board has been established to oversee the programme, providing a single accountable governance structure and unified decision making. The Interoperability Hub will be hosted by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, as the global digital health exemplar. The Innovation Hub will be hosted by Health Innovation Manchester. Both hubs will be supported by a programme board, reporting to the overarching board.
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