• The Health and Social Care Secretary has set out his priorities to focus on personalized care, improving and harnessing the power of technological breakthroughs
  • Electronic patient records will be rolled out to 90% of trusts by December 2023 so NHS staff can quickly access all relevant patient information
  • Ambition set for 75% of adults in England to use the NHS app by March 2024 and commitment to release a digital health plan later this year

Patients and health and care staff across the country will benefit from more personalized, easier to access digital healthcare and care, as Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid delivered his first speech focused on health technologies since his appointment.

Speaking at the HSJ Digital Transformation Summit, Sajid Javid outlined his plans for a more inclusive digital health service that better harnesses the power of innovation to drive a new era of recovery and reform, which will include publishing of a digital health plan later this year.

This decision puts digital transformation at the heart of health and care reforms and will be instrumental in integrating technologies and processes that will help eliminate the COVID backlog, ultimately leading to reduced waiting lists.

He announced ambitions such as:

  • for 90% of NHS trusts to have electronic patient records in place or are working on them by December 2023 and for all social care providers to adopt a digital social care record – saving clinicians time , for example by freeing up 23,000 hours of breastfeeding time for care each year. It will also lead to better and safer care for patients, as electronic treatment plans increase consistency, reduce risk and can shorten the length of hospital stays.
  • to have 75% of adults in England using the NHS app by March 2024, and expanding features on estimated waiting times and personalized advice. This will help people manage their health by having access to their data, including medical records from their GP, as well as making it easier to order prescription refills, book appointments online and check in preferences for services, such as organ donation, that will save lives.

The Health and Social Care Secretary has set out his new goals for rolling out electronic patient records in health and social care. He said:

We have definitely seen brilliant progress. But this progress has not always been consistent across all areas – for example, one in five trusts still lacks an electronic patient record.

Electronic medical records are the essential prerequisite for a modern, digital NHS. Without them, we cannot realize the full potential for reform.

I therefore want to accelerate the deployment of these vital files, with a new approach to reach 90% coverage by the end of next year.

I want to see a particular focus on social care, where about 40% of providers still struggle with paper records. So we want to see all social care providers adopt a digital social care record.

Embracing personalized technologies, Sajid Javid will set out his ambition for 75% of adults in England to use the NHS app by March 2024. He said:

To get there, we need to show people that the app is for life, not just for COVID, and it will be a future gateway to interact with the NHS.

The NHS is already working on new features, including how we can display estimated waiting times and blood test results in the app.

The NHS app has shown how receptive people are to having healthcare literally in their hands – and we have the ability to use platforms such as apps and websites to access diagnostics and therapies, helping them manage their own conditions.

The Health and Social Care Secretary will also set out his ambitions to use NHS data to drive innovation, building on pioneering work during the pandemic to develop diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19 – including the RECOVERY trial which led to the discovery of dexamethasone, the world’s first proven treatment for COVID-19 in just 100 days, which has saved at least a million lives worldwide. He said:

NHS data makes the whole world safer and healthier.

Thanks to this country’s unique national health service, the NHS has a valuable resource in the form of data – which can offer so much information to pioneers in the life sciences – including some of the largest genomic datasets in the world. world.

But we know that more needs to be done to build trust in the use of data and reassure the public that the data will be used safely. For example, making access to and use of data smoother and safer for researchers, by requiring the use of reliable research environments.

By developing an environment focused on benchmark security, researchers will be encouraged to drive innovation, while ensuring that patient data is protected to the highest standards.

Looking ahead, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced plans to release a digital health plan later this year, which will build on lessons learned from the pandemic and lead to changes in the digital health space.

Background information

  • The Health and Social Care Secretary spoke at the HSJ Digital Transformation Summit on Thursday, February 24.
  • The speech was streamed live on DHSC social media.
  • A verified version of the speech is available here