Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy Elena Whitham visited a local project yesterday (21 November 2023) to meet people benefiting from the Scottish Government’s £3.1 million Digital Lifelines Programme.
Driving Data Excellence
Greetings from the Health & Social Care Data Standards Sub-Board!
We are thrilled to announce the official launch of the Health and Social Care Data Standards Sub-Board, a pivotal part of Scotland’s vision for harnessing the transformative power of health and social care data to enhance services and improve overall outcomes.
The Why: Building a Strong Data Foundation
The inception of the sub-board is directly aligned with the Data Strategy for Health and Social Care, a visionary document that outlines a comprehensive approach to leverage data for revolutionising the delivery of health and social care services. The strategy underscores the critical importance of data standards in realising the transformation we all aspire to achieve.
The What: Defining Our Purpose
At the core of our existence is a well-defined purpose composed of the following key components:
- Identifying, Assuring, and Recommending Preferred Data Standards: One of our central responsibilities is to act as a single point of contact for triaging data standards within the health and social care ecosystem. We are committed to evaluating, endorsing, and recommending the most suitable standards across the sector.
- Managing Implementation and Resolving Challenges: Understanding and outlining the implementation process is another crucial aspect of our work. This involves addressing and mitigating the risks of introducing new data standards into the existing ecosystem.
- Providing Guidance and Enhancing Interoperability: The sub-board is well-equipped to provide a comprehensive overview of the standards landscape. We aim to offer valuable advice and guidance to facilitate the integration of new standards and the adaptation of existing ones. Our goal is to enhance interoperability across the health and social care sector, thereby promoting a more cohesive and efficient data exchange.
Authority and reach
We work with a delegated authority to make decisions on standards for use in health and social care, escalating matters to the Data Board as needed. The sub-board is also entrusted with the vital task of horizon scanning to find standards suitable for use in health and social care. In doing so, we seek alignment with international standards, followed by UK and Scottish standards.
One of our primary responsibilities is to build meaningful relationships with stakeholders across the four nations and international groups. We are dedicated to collaborating closely with standards developers to ensure that the standards are not only fit for purpose but also harmonised with the specific requirements of the Scottish context.
The sub-board will develop a robust assurance process to guarantee that the necessary rigour is applied before endorsing standards for use in health and social care. Moreover, we will play a pivotal role in publishing and maintaining approved standards.
A Glimpse into the future
The significance of the Data Strategy for Health and Social Care cannot be overstated. The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst, underscoring the vital role that data plays in healthcare delivery. The strategy charts the course for our collective vision of a future where data is instrumental in not only improving health and wellbeing, but also in achieving critical missions such as enhancing population health and reducing health inequalities.
The Data Strategy embraces the principles of the Scottish Approach to Service Design, which places people at the very heart of every decision made. This approach ensures that individuals and their needs remain central as we evolve and develop the strategy.
Join us on the journey
The success of the Data Strategy and the implementation of data standards require the buy-in of stakeholders across the health and social care sector and beyond. We look forward to collaborating with you as we work towards realising the ambitious goals of our Data Strategy, ultimately improving the lives of individuals in Scotland through data.
The Health and Social Care Data Standards Sub-Board is committed to an iterative approach, allowing us to adapt and pivot each year in response to external factors that may impact change. This dynamic approach also enables us to progress in delivering our ambitious vision while upholding the highest ethical, transparent, and trustworthy standards in data usage.
Together, we can harness the power of data to enhance health and wellbeing in Scotland. We invite you to join us on this transformative journey.
Joe Deary and Ananda Allan are Co-Chairs of the Health and Social Care Data Standards Sub-Board
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