Your questions answered
Your electronic records and how they help us provide you with better care
Recently, you will have received a letter from NHS England concerning the data that is being collected by the NHS to help with health care delivery and planning. This is in addition to information already available to NHS care professionals via the Hampshire Health Record and the Summary Care Record. This leaflet explains the difference between all three records and explains why it is important for us to keep electronic records about you as a patient. It also sets out how your information is shared, with whom and how you can opt out of these arrangements should you wish.
What records do we keep in Hampshire?
All care organisations keep electronic records – it’s part of the Government’s initiative to make the NHS and Social Care paperless by 2018. Apart from that using computers and databases saves time, improves accuracy and prevents duplication. They also help with sharing information which is important to patient care. In Hampshire, there are three types of electronic record which make patient information available for use by authorised care professionals and these are created from your GP, hospital or other health records. These are:
- The Hampshire Health Record (HHR);
- The Summary Care Record (SCR);
We only use the minimum amount of information necessary to help us improve patient care and the services we provide. We ensure that the way we use information complies with the law, national guidance and best practice.
What is the Hampshire Health Record?
Most practices are using the Hampshire Health Record (HHR) which is an electronic (not paper) record that contains information from your GP and Hospital records. With your consent, clinical staff use this when needed:
- It gives the people taking care of you the right information at the right time.
- Health professionals can make informed decisions about your treatment much faster and your care can be better coordinated.
- It reduces the time wasted waiting for information, meaning you can be treated sooner.
We always ensure any information stored about you in the HHR is protected and seen only by the right people and for the right reasons. We will protect your rights to privacy and confidentiality at all times.
Who uses the Hampshire Health Record?
The Hampshire Health Record has benefits for nearly all clinicians within the local NHS and is used by care professionals from hospital doctors to pharmacists and community nurses, as well as your GP. It gives clinicians a much wider view of information than they might otherwise have to hand, helping them, and you, to coordinate your care better and make informed decisions about your treatment.
So, what is the Summary Care Record?
The Summary Care Record (SCR) is a national scheme and is used to support your emergency care. It will contain important information about medicines you are taking, any adverse reactions you have had to medications, and any allergies you have.
Giving healthcare staff access to this information can prevent mistakes being made when caring for you in an emergency or when your GP practice is closed. Isn’t this information already available on the Hampshire Health Record (HHR)? Yes. In fact, the HHR has more information than the SCR but it is only available within Hampshire.
What is Care Data?
Care Data is a system whereby information about you can be retrieved from care computer systems and is shared, securely, by healthcare staff to support your treatment and care. It is important that we, the NHS, can use this information to plan and improve services for all patients. It helps us to compare the care you received in one area against the care you received in another, so we can see what has worked best. Information (which does not reveal your identity) can then be used by others, such as researchers and those planning health services, to make sure we provide the best care possible for everyone.
What choices do I have?
In general: If you are happy for your information to be shared you do not need to do anything. There is no form to fill in and nothing to sign and you can change your mind at any time. If you have concerns or are not happy for your information to be shared, view the websites listed below or speak to your GP practice. You have a right to opt-out or object.
- Hampshire Health Record: If you do not want to have your information shared (called ‘Opting Out’), you only need to complete a short form and send it to your GP's surgery or directly to the Hampshire Health Record Operational Team. The form can be found at this website: www.hantshealthrecord.nhs.uk
- Summary Care Record: If you are happy for us to make a Summary Care Record for you, you do not need to do anything, we will automatically make one for you. If you do not want a Summary Care Record, please fill in an opt-out form and return it to your GP practice. Opt-out forms are available at www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk/options, or you can ask us to send you one by phoning the Summary Care Record Information Line on 0300 123 3020. You can also opt out by simply dropping a signed and dated note into your surgery.
- Care Data: If you do not want information that identifies you to be shared through the care.data system for planning health services and research you can object and opt-out. Download the Opt-out Form below, complete it and send it to the practice. Information comes not just from your GP surgery so you have two types of information sharing that you can object to:
- You can object to information containing data that identifies you from leaving your GP practice. This type of objection will prevent the identifiable information held in your GP record from being sent to the secure data environment held nationally. It will also prevent those who have gained special legal approval from using your health information for research.
- You can also object to any information containing data that identifies you from leaving the national secure database. This includes information from all places you receive NHS care, such as hospitals. If you do not object, information that identifies you will only leave the secure database in limited circumstances where there is special legal approval, for example for medical research. If you object, confidential information will not leave the secure database and be used in this way, except in very rare circumstances for example in the event of a civil emergency.
For more details please contact the care.data health line on 0300 456 3531 or talk to your GP practice. You can find out more on the NHS England Care Data website
Remember, opting out of one system does not mean that you automatically opt out of them all.
How information about you helps us to provide better care