As one of the largest and most important institutions in the UK, the NHS deals with a huge amount of information on a daily basis. From GPs updating medical records of patients/appointments to clerical staff in hospitals analysing and inputting various data, information plays a crucial role in helping the NHS run smoothly on a daily basis. In light of this, here are some of the ways the NHS deals with data.

Chief Data Officer’s Team

Within NHS England, there is a Chief Data Officer’s team which is responsible for all operations relating to data storage and management. This team is comprised of three units: the data policy unit, the data project unit and the data sharing and privacy unit.

Each of these units has different responsibilities regarding data management and storage, and together they are responsible for all strategies and procedures regarding data in the NHS. It is likely that this team will continue to help different areas of the NHS adopt new, cutting edge data management methods as an when they become available in the future.

Databases

Since it deals with large amounts of information which need to be accessible by staff across the country, the NHS requires large databases which are capable of serving their needs in a reliable and effective manner. From archiving data to moving it between different organisations within the institution, the NHS uses multiple different databases for different purposes.

Once data is securely stored, it can be accessed by the relevant staff with ease, and as such it is crucial that the NHS constantly updates and invests in new database technology.

Confidentiality

All information regarding patients in the NHS is strictly confidential, and so is usually only shared between doctors/medical staff. If personal information is to be shared, then it is often anonymised, pseudonymised or aggregated to protect privacy and ensure all data is secure.

That being said, the NHS does also promote open data, which is information which is released by the government or public bodies for the benefit of the public. This helps patients and carers/staff to improve their standards of care and bring overall costs down.

So, data management is not as simple as it may at first seem. There are many different considerations which all NHS staff must make when handling data, all of which can affect patients and staff alike. As such, the institution has effective procedures in place to ensure that all data is secure and well managed.

 

 

 

 

 

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