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The new NHS information strategy

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 30 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3807
  1. Jeremy C Wyatt, professor of eHealth innovation and codirector
  1. 1Institute of Digital Healthcare, International Digital Laboratory, Warwick University, Warwick CV4 7AL, UK
  1. jeremy.wyatt{at}

It rewrites the rules on medical records: the presumption is sharing

Commentators rarely accuse the current UK government of lacking ambition over NHS reforms, but many have complained that its new information strategy, The Power of Information,1 contains simply platitudes. Some dismiss the strategy’s calls for a culture change, claiming that no change in professional culture is needed because doctors, nurses, and others are already tweeting and using apps to shape their personal lives via social media. But on close inspection the culture change required does not relate to how we use technology but to how we share and use information.

The table lists some of the main proposals and how they affect different stakeholders. Of these the most revolutionary are sharing patient data with all health and social care professionals who need it; patients’ access to their primary care records by 2015; and anonymous data being used by the NHS, researchers, and industry to promote quality and innovation. Together, these add up to a fundamental change in the ways we view records and share the data they contain.

View this table:

NHS Information Strategy proposals and responsibilities of the main stakeholders

The first challenge is a presumption that professionals should share records across organisations to improve safety, efficiency, and outcomes. …

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