NHS England will use “carrots and sticks” to get trusts to comply with data standards and infrastructure requirements, says Tim Kelsey.

Speaking at a health information summit by pressure group Reform earlier this week, NHS England’s director of patients and information said the fragmented health and care service needs to be dealt with and that “we have an unstoppable appetite” for using technology, with 75& of people routinely using the internet.

However, only 2% of us have “digitally engaged with the NHS” said Kelsey.  

He added that the National Information Board, which he chairs, will publish its first strategy in the coming weeks, which will set out “how we are going to make the data revolution real for our patients and carers.”

“When that does come out I do hope it will make it clear how the different parts of the health and care family will work in delivering on this agenda.

“The revolution is already happening. The big question to all of use is how we support the revolution to progress rather than stop it.”

He said that the primary care services in the NHS is “the envy of the world” but that “we have been very patient with secondary care and social care to comply with standards.”

“Very few hospitals use the NHS number as a primary identifier of the patient because the software provider has a proprietary number they want them to use,” he said.

“We are going to look at carrots to get hospitals to do this, but also some sticks.”

He explained that this could be “like losing training accreditation for teaching hospitals, for not complying with standards.”

EHI reported earlier this month that between two and four clinical commissioning groups will be selected shortly to begin he pathfinder stage of the care.data programme.

The programme will extract data sets from different organisations, starting with GP practices, and link them to an expanded set of Hospital Episode Statistics within the 'safe haven' of the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

The project was due to start earlier this year, but was “paused” by NHS England after medical and privacy groups objected to a public leaflet campaign that failed to include a clear account of the programme, who would receive the data, or an opt-out form for patients.

The pathfinders will test different communication strategies before moving forward with the data extraction part of the project.

 Kelsey said that the CCGs will”help us build up care.data”. When the programme will be rolled out nationally is still uncertain. "We don't prescribe to articificial deadlines", said Kelsey earlier this year.