Scottish government plans immediate start to developing real-time access to patient e-records

Scotland’s physiotherapists will use a national digital platform to access real-time information from electronic patient records, under proposals in the Scottish government’s digital health and care strategy.

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The Scottish government says citizens expect IT to be part of how health and care is delivered

Published on 25 April, the document says work on the cloud-based platform will start immediately. It will mean that information and data can be created and used by healthcare professionals in clinics or in the community. The government also intends that it will enable existing health and care technologies to be interoperable.

Overall, the strategy sets out a range of ambitious plans to improve health and care services across Scotland through digital technology. It covers NHS, national and local government services. When they are delivered, the changes will affect physiotherapy staff working in the NHS, community and public health services.

By July 2018, there will be a ‘clear national approach’ to supporting local service transformation. As part of this, the government wants to see a ‘step-change’ in how technology is used to support independent living.

It also plans to use more video consultations with patients at home and mobile devices to enable patients to access routine and specialist support from any location in Scotland.

Digitally connected

Developing the digital skills and capability of the workforce will be key to the successful delivery of the proposals. Similarly, the government is committed to ensuring staff are fully digitally connected wherever they are working.

If all goes to plan, a national decision-making board will be in place this summer. Its remit will be to drive forward the digital agenda by agreeing financial arrangements, and identifying priorities for development and improvement, including new ways of working.

Board members will be drawn from the Scottish government, local councils and the NHS. They will be supported by advice from industry, academia and the third sector.

Physiotherapist Lesley Holdsworth, the Scottish government’s clinical lead for digital health and care, said: ‘Physiotherapists must be involved in this strategy.

‘We have an active network for anyone interested in digital health, and a national leadership programme in digital health, which over 20 physios have been through already. A high-level Implementation plan is embedded within the strategy which will be developed in more detail over the coming months with our delivery partners.'

 

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by Gill Hitchcock

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