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Information Standards and Collections (Including Extractions) - National Governance


Information standards and data collections are key foundational elements of the health and care system, enabling consistent high quality care delivery and management of the services that are essential to all of us. Collecting, recording and exchanging information in a safe, secure and standardised way is a critical part of modern care delivery. This ranges from standardising clinical information exchanged between hospitals and GPs, through to the information used at a national level to monitor and improve performance of care services. The 2012 Health and Social Care Act gave new powers to various parts of the health and care system to improve the way information is handled. In response, new governance arrangements have been put in place to exercise those powers.

From April 2014 a new committee, the Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI), oversees the development, assurance and approval of information standards, data collections, and data extractions.

SCCI takes its membership from a wide range of national bodies and organisations involved in the provision and management of health and care services in England. This ensures a system-wide, joined up approach to decision making.  At the heart of SCCI's working arrangements are openness about the process and transparency in its operations.

Read more about the work of SCCI.

Why the need for change?

A number of factors have combined to push for change:

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 sets out provisions in Part 9 for information standards and data collections:

  • Information standards now have a legal status, with NHS England (NHS Commissioning Board) and the Secretary of State empowered to publish an information standard to which providers and commissioners of publicly funded health and social care services must have regard.
  • Increased powers are given to the HSCIC to establish information systems for the collection or analysis of information.

The National Information Board (NIB) provides for the first time national, integrated commissioning arrangements for informatics services for health and social care in England. It is committed to ensuring that information standards:

  • are coherent
  • enable different IT systems to communicate with each other
  • drive more integrated services for people.

SCCI is responsible to NIB for the identification, commissioning and successful implementation of information standards, collections and extractions.

The information strategy : 'The power of information: Putting all of us in control of the health and care information we need'  has as one of its key ambitions:
 "Information recorded once, at our first contact with professional staff, and shared securely between those providing our care - supported by consistent use of information standards that enable data to flow (interoperability) between systems whilst keeping our confidential information safe and secure"

What's different?

The new governance arrangements bring a number of changes from 1 April 2014:

  • the Information Standards Board (ISB) has been closed
  • SCCI now recommends information standards for approval
  • HSCIC will publish information standards on behalf of the Secretary of State and NHS England
  • data collections and data extractions have to obtain SCCI acceptance
  • a dedicated team within HSCIC to work with developers to produce system requirements
    • HSCIC can provide developer expertise where the Sponsor/Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) have none
  • developers have to identify and take into account the needs of all users
  • developers have to produce implementation guidance making it easy for all users to understand their obligations
  • burden assessment forms part of the approval process for both standards and collections
  • a commitment to increased openness of design, development and maintenance
  • a commitment to greater transparency of SCCI operations and decision making
  • a requirement for consultation to ensure all users have been appropriately engaged
  • a requirement to explore the need for European technical consultation

The impact of the new process

Impact for Developers - As a developer the process you follow and the criteria by which your products are assessed are changing. There will still be a process methodology and you will be guided through the changes by the HSCIC development support team.

Impact for Care Providers and Commissioners - As a consumer of information standards and data collections, you will have the opportunity to participate in development on a more open and systematic basis and from an earlier stage in the process. The new process gives you a means of accessing detailed information about the work, from initial submission through to publication. The new Idea to Need service allows anyone with an idea for a new piece of work to formally submit this for consideration.

Impact for Suppliers - As a supplier, you have greater opportunity to become involved during the development and retirement of information standards, primarily through consultation mechanisms but also as a result of the greater transparency of SCCI work. SCCI has representation from techUK, which contains members from a large cross-section of technology companies working to support the health and social care system. 

What has not changed?

  • Information Standards Notices continue to be published, however:
    • there are changes to the content, particularly to show the legal authority
    • an indicator is used to show whether it is an information standard or collection that has been approved, and whether the collection is mandatory:
      • IS - information standard
      • MC - mandatory collection
      • NC - non-mandatory collection
  • ISB approved standards continue to have force through contractual obligations.
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