Our Vision for the Health and Care Data Strategy

Written by
Ryan Anderson - Policy Lead for Data Intelligence

This month Colin Birchenall, as the Chair of the Digital Health and Care Data Strategy Working Group, presented an update on the Data Strategy for Health and Social Care to the Health and Social Care Strategic Portfolio Board on the 8th December 2021. For those who are not aware, the Board’s role is focused on making key national decisions required to deliver interoperability and information sharing across Scotland’s health and social care services. It has a remit to identify priorities for improvement and collaborative working, sharing of best practice, and embedding new ways of working.  This was therefore an excellent opportunity to get feedback and approval for next steps.

The update included a presentation on the findings from a review of existing literature on health and care data with a specific focus on public engagement.  Colin also outlined the Working Group’s engagement plan to be rolled out over the next 6 months and finally asked the Board to consider the proposal for the establishment of a new Data Board.

The Board heard how gaps in existing knowledge around public perceptions on data had been identified through the literature review, which would help inform the engagement work on the Data Strategy going forward.  While a lot is already known about issues relating to trust, transparency and the public benefits of data usage, a thorough understanding of equality issues, control over data and data quality are less well understood.  These areas would therefore be the focus of our discussions with stakeholders.

Colin provided an outline of the anticipated timelines culminating in the proposed publication of the Strategy in late 2022.  Details of our engagement plan, including how we intend to engage the public and a broad range of stakeholders (such as equality and advocacy groups, health and care professionals, innovation organisations/bodies, academia and civil liberties groups and other Scottish Government directorates) were also outlined.

Board members were keen to hear more about the engagement process and were supportive of the robust approach being taken.   It will be a three-staged approach: 1) Initial information gathering to shape the draft strategy through a range of workshops and meetings; 2). Testing those messages through follow-up workshops and meetings and; 3) a formal consultation online (to go live in May 2022) accompanied by virtual or face to face workshops with those who cannot or do not want to participate online.  We will share more details about how to get involved with the formal public consultation in the weeks leading up to its launch.

Finally, Colin proposed the formation of a dedicated Data Board for Health and Social Care which would bring together partners from across health and social care to provide strategic responsibility for the delivery of the commitments made in the Data Strategy and its accompanying delivery plan, explaining that the Working Group would play more of an operational role whilst in the development phase of the Data Strategy.   The Data Board would ensure that data across health and care was being used in an ethical way and according to set standards to ensure the best outcomes across health and social care.

The presentation was well received, with board members expressing satisfaction with the reports on progress made to date and approval of our plans for next year.  Now that we have approval and support from the Strategic Portfolio Board we will proceed in our plans to establish the Data Board for Health and Social Care in Scotland in the new year and hope to be in a position to share the final terms of reference for that, on our Data Strategy Working Group page in due course.

As the year draws to an end, I will finish by wishing everyone peace and joy over the festive season.  We look forward to continued work and engagement on the Data Strategy in 2022.

For more information on the Data Strategy for Health and Social Care, contact Nel Whiting (Participation and Engagement Lead): Nel.Whiting@gov.scot

Data Strategy Working Group page: Digital Health and Care Data Strategy Working Group – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Twitter: @DigiCare4Scot

Recent Posts