"Our greatest strength is our unique multi-disciplinary membership and the powerful networks they provide access to for those leading digital transformation across the health and care system"

CEO, Lorraine Foley looks at this year's achievements  and the future direction for 2019/20

Our mission as the PRSB is to optimise the health and care of people across the UK through the definition and widespread adoption of high quality, standardised records. We believe that standards will only be useful and used if they are defined by the people most impacted by them – professionals providing health and care and people receiving care and taking an active role in managing their own care. Social care is too often an after-thought yet we believe it must be central to providing person-centred, integrated care. And defining standards is only part of the job, we believe that we must build on the willing contribution provided by thousands of people and professionals to fully engage their passion and energy until standards are widely adopted across the UK and we see the step change improvement in care that we seek.

We have made strides forward in these aims in 2018/19 and our ambitions are even higher for the coming year. I would like to thank our staff and our members and Advisory Board representatives for their contribution and hard work, we couldn’t do it without you. 

Celebrating progress


During 2018/19 we have made important additions to our growing portfolio of standards in critical areas including maternity records, pharmacy information, standards for ensuring that information in documents and paper records can be retrieved and standards for the safe exchange of information about medications and the core information standard for shared care records.

We published important reports on increasing the recording of employment status to improve health and wellbeing and the information flows needed to optimise urgent and emergency care.

The Core Information Standard is a pivotal development which has the potential to revolutionise how care is delivered and how people are enabled to access their own records and manage their own health and care. Initially developed to support the integration of care in five NHS England exemplar sites, it provides an holistic definition of the information that could be held about a person and will set the foundations for the future development of all person-centred records.

People made very clear to us that they care passionately about the information held about them and have strong views on what should be included and how it should be used. The ‘about me’ information represents what is important to the individual and what they want others to know in providing their care whether it is their personal circumstances or social context, their preferences or anxieties or their life goals that they want help to achieve. Without people and the organisations that represent them playing a leading role in our work, this information that is so important to them is unlikely to have been identified. Professionals working in social care were also key in identifying how we ensure the information needed to support both social care and health care professionals will meet people’s care needs and support their personal goals.

We strengthened links considerably with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during the last year with high profile contributions to the work of the PRSB from all nations and an increasing appetite for sharing standards, recognising that the need for integrated care does not stop at national borders. We were also gratified to be contacted by colleagues in Australia who aspire to a PRSB style of collaborative standards development. They have adopted our healthy child record standard and are sharing learning as they forge ahead with its implementation.

The PRSB ethos is to continually improve how we work. In the last year we professionalised our tools and processes for managing our information assets through introduction of the Art Décor tool, we overhauled our endorsement process to ensure we identify key stakeholders from the start and bring them with us on the journey as a standard evolves and we adopted a more agile and innovative approach to standards development. For example, the project to address the interchange of medicines information between hospitals and GPs, a ‘wicked’ issue for many years, was resolved by following a pragmatic approach over a 3 month period.

Other landmark achievements included the endorsement by NICE of the PRSB discharge standard meaning that the NICE guidance is now linked to the information standard and will mutually reinforce best practice. Having proved the principle, we will adopt the same approach with all our standards in future.

Looking to the future

Widespread adoption of standards remains the prize in 2019/20. It is widely understood that successful adoption is predicated on the meaningful engagement of the ‘users’ – the people and professionals that the PRSB represents. The PRSB will be seeking to ensure the unique contribution that we and our members can make is recognised and channelled into accelerating the adoption of standards in a way that works for the users. Adoption of the core information standard will be a major focus for the coming year and several years to come and is a great opportunity to move this agenda forwards.

Demand for standards continues to be strong and our members have highlighted key areas that need to be addressed including community-based pathways, social care, shared decision making and decision support. Exciting advances in genomics will require standards to fully exploit its potential and standardised coding of pathology tests and the adoption of standardised terminologies such as Snomed CT and DM&D remain important priorities.

We will continue to work collaboratively with partners to ensure that the whole system pulls in the same direction and encourages adoption of standards. We will build on our work with NICE, aligning PRSB standards and NICE guidelines; we aspire to work with regulators in aligning their regulatory regimes. We plan to achieve statutory Information Systems Notices for PRSB standards further incentivising system vendors and local providers to adopt them.

Following the launch of NHSX in England, we are building relationships with the new leaders driving digital change to ensure our objectives for the next year are aligned with the NHS long-term plan in England and their counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We are proud of our achievements in the last year and look forward to building on these in the year ahead. We know the work of the PRSB is highly valued but the system-wide funding challenges are self-evident. We have already delivered considerable efficiencies in our work, delivering more for less but in the coming year we anticipate a more significant shift in our business model to further manage down costs, increase our flexibility and diversify our services and sources of income. This will ensure our independence is sacrosanct and the important work of PRSB and its members is protected and grows.

Contact us

The Professional Record Standards Body
7-14, CAN Borough, Great Dover St, London SE1 4YR


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