Nurses and other clinicians need to change their mindset when it comes to the use of information, according to independent government advisors.
The NHS Future Forum was originally set up by the government to advise on changes to the health bill but was then given a second set of health areas to investigate. These were education and training; integrated health; information and the public’s health. Reports on its findings were published earlier this week.
It its report on information it has recommended more patient data to be shared between NHS organisations, as the current system leads to duplication of work and is a source of “frustration” for staff and patients.
National Voices chief executive Jeremy Taylor, who wrote the forum’s report on information in the NHS, called for a “change of mindset” in how the NHS uses information.
He told Nursing Times that clinical staff had a vital role in capturing accurate information about patients. But, he said, the forum had heard that a lack of joined up data caused “a lot of frustration” among nurses who had to repeatedly record the same information about patients at different stages in their treatment.
Joining up data across NHS organisations could make life easier for nurses and improve the quality of care, he said: “If you move to a system where you’ve got electronic systems which talk to each other, which can share the data… you start to get something that feels better for quality of care and hopefully is more rewarding for staff.”
Royal College of Nursing head of policy Howard Catton said nurses needed to “step up a gear” in their approach to information, but the change in culture needed to be more widespread across the NHS.
“There are already an awful lot of nurses who are leading on this”, he said.