"Despite the challenges of the pandemic, it has been a fulfilling year for PRSB. As a forward-thinking, innovative organisation we look forward to building on these successes and continuing the drive towards a fully connected health and care system."
CEO, Lorraine Foley
“As society continues to battle the pandemic, NHS and social care services have risen to the challenge, rapidly adapting to meet the needs of the public. While digital transformation has been an ongoing ambition for the health and care system for more than a decade, the past year has been the catalyst for acceleration.
How standards are supporting digital transformation
Increasingly information standards are being valued as critical to the future of shared care records and digital transformation, in a way they have not been previously. This year we were proud that our community pharmacy standard was used to support the Covid vaccination programme in England. Following successful implementation into pharmacies in 2019, which allowed pharmacists to digitally update flu vaccination records and share with GPs, the standard was implemented at Covid vaccination centres across the country. Meanwhile our report on the lessons learned on digital transformation during the first wave of the pandemic has been very well received, and further work is underway on standards for remote monitoring of care and shared decision making.
In addition to the valuable work, we have done to support the ongoing fight against Covid, we have other achievements to celebrate. This year marks the end of the first five years of our strategy for growth and development of standards and interoperability in health and care. Throughout this time, we have published 20 standards covering information needs at transfers of care and integrated care and personalisation, grown our membership exponentially and developed better links with health and social care leaders across the whole of the UK. As our success with the community pharmacy standard demonstrates, we have moved on from simply producing standards, to playing an active role in their implementation.
Addressing the digital needs of social care has become far more pressing as we move towards joined up care, with integrated care systems and health boards recognising the true value of connecting these services. Social care was identified as a key priority in our strategic plans, and we have worked hard to drive this forward over the past 18 months.
At the end of last year, we published a series of standards as part of the Digital Social Care Programme to support sharing information between health and social care in a range of care settings. We have already begun working with colleagues across the UK to get the standards implemented, with adoption in NHS South West London CCG and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. In South West London, where they have been using the standard for sharing information from care homes to hospitals, the trust has already seen an 11% reduction in emergency department attendances, with people’s wishes better understood and delivered. Meanwhile Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust has successfully begun adoption of PRSB’s About Me Standard, which is designed to support better and more personalised care for individuals in the UK.
We have also worked extremely closely with social care professionals and people who use services to update our personalised care and support plan for people who live with long-term and enduring mental health conditions. Organisations now recognise that safe care is not enough and to achieve the best outcomes, care must be tailored to a person’s needs. We know how important it is to connect health and social care to achieve this and we will continue to champion these links.
Growth and development
The work and role of PRSB is more valued than ever before, and our opinions and judgements are welcomed by the sector. This has been reflected in our growth and development, which went from strength to strength in 2020. Last year saw the introduction of the Standards Sponsorship Board in England, which brings together system leaders in the NHS and social care with regulators and PRSB, to support us to work more collaboratively and strategically with these key organisations on the standards agenda. We have also improved our engagement, expanding our Advisory Board with new members, and strengthening relationships with our existing members. To further support our mission to get standards adopted across the four nations, this year we have developed strong links with Welsh Informatics Service, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Health and Social Care Alliance.
The implementation of standards has been a key driver for us during the past 12 months, leading to the introduction of the new Standards Partnership Scheme, which launched in February 2021. The scheme invites software suppliers for health and care services to become part of a unique network where they can access education, conferences, workshops, and share best practice to support implementing standards. By learning from each other and overcoming challenges together, system suppliers can work towards the shared vision of interoperability in health and social care.
Our Quality Partners
Quality Partners can highlight their commitment to standards and quality by attaining the Quality Mark, which certifies that they have been assessed as compliant with one or more standards and demonstrated their organisational commitment, a valued achievement. This scheme is already helping us to build relationships with key players in the sector, which ensures that standards are going to be adopted in the right way. As well as supporting the drive towards a joined-up health and care system, where information can be shared digitally, it has helped to cement PRSB’s role as a leader in digital transformation.
Improving the way standards are developed and adopted
Monitoring and improving the way standards are developed and implemented is crucial to our work, and it is an area we have been expanding. We have been working on a series of evaluations to determine how standards are being used in action. These evaluations will be used as case studies to help others with the implementation process, outlining both challenges and solutions. Meanwhile we have also been assessing the process of standards development, upgrading our methodology and developing technical specifications for standards to ensure they are useful, usable, and used by professionals and people using services.
After the success of virtual working during the initial stages of the pandemic, the PRSB has since made this a permanent change. This has been extremely successful, allowing more people from across the UK to get involved with our projects and workshops. In addition to increasing the number of attendees at our events, it has also made them more inclusive, opening them up to people who live in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and those who may have struggled in the past to participate face to face for a variety of reasons. This spring more than 130 people attended an online workshop on shared decision making and included many representatives from Scotland and Wales, which is also a major step toward gaining support and coverage for our work across the UK. Our team has expanded, and we have been able to employ people with valuable skills from across the UK. We will retain an office base in London for staff who wish to work flexibly and continue to be mindful of those excluded from technology. From role play sessions to one-on-one meetings and phone interviews, we are continually developing the ways in which we work with people to develop standards and we will make sure that we go the extra mile to ensure inclusion.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, it has been a fulfilling year for PRSB. As a forward-thinking, innovative organisation, we look forward to building on these successes and continuing the drive towards a fully connected health and care system”.
The Professional Record Standards Body
7-14, CAN Borough, Great Dover St, London SE1 4YR