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Digital 'red book' for new mothers planned under technology proposals

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The Personal Child Health Record – or “red book” as it is known – given out by health visitors to new mothers will in the future be available in a digital version under a set of new NHS-backed technology proposals.

As part of a new national framework for improving technology use in health services unveiled yesterday, the digitisation of the red book would offer new mothers personalised mobile care records for their child.

The proposals also state that clinicians will in the future have real-time access to personalised mobile care records for all patients – who will themselves be able to add comments to these records about their preferences for care by 2018.

Meanwhile, a controversial medical record-sharing programme which was due to be rolled out earlier this year – but was delayed due to GP concerns that patients lacked understanding of it – is to be expanded further under the framework.

The scheme, which is run by NHS England and aims to link hospital and GP data, will be “extended nationally to other care settings,” said the proposals.

“The practical application of technology on the frontline will allow nurses to concentrate on giving compassionate care”

Jane Cummings

Meanwhile, data quality standards for all NHS care providers will be published in 2015, which will include the “completeness with which data is entered into electronic records and made accessible to carers and patients”.

From 2016, this will be assessed as part of the Care Quality Commission’s routine assessments, added the plans.

The framework was announced by the National Information Board, a new umbrella body set up by the Department of Health to develop strategic priorities for data and technology use in health and care organisations.

The NIB comprises national organisations including Health Education England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Care Quality Commission.

The framework document – called Personalised Health and Care 2020: Using Data and Technology to Transform Outcomes for Patients and Citizens – stated that efficiency savings from technology and data services will be required to help close the increasing gaps between expectations, demand and resources in the healthcare system.

Jane Cummings

Jane Cummings

It also includeed plans for developing NHS “kitemarks” by 2015 for use, with trusted smartphone apps that will help patients access services.

NIB chair Tim Kelsey said: “New mothers will now be able to carry their red book around with them on their smart phone and tablet as the NHS moves towards offering digital Personal Child Health Records. 

“This will put an end to worrying about leaving your child’s information at home when going for a review, vaccination, or emergency treatment,” he added.

Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer for England, said: “The practical application of technology on the frontline will allow our nurses and other health-workers to concentrate on what is important – giving meaningful and compassionate care to patients.

“Being smarter with data and technology has the potential to make a world of difference to patients, while ensuring best value for the taxpayer,” she said.

The NIB will begin to publish a set of roadmaps in spring 2015 laying out “in greater detail who will do what to transform digital care”.

The body has also said it will begin testing its proposed framework with care professionals and organisations, service users and technology suppliers over the coming months so that these groups can inform its work.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • This is a brilliant use of technology and will definately benefit patients, families and numerous geographical health care workers across the UK.

    Will the technology be available via an app or will this be embedded into a device that is provided to the parents?

    Also how is the information saved and accessed by parents/health staff/GP's?

    If the device is lost can the parents still obtain access on the childs details from a central portal/server?

    Just a few questions.

    Thank you

    Terry Watkins Abci / ABUHB South Wales

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