The chief executive of NHS Digital has told attendees of the UK Health Show that ‘we are entering the era of self service and mobility of data’.
Speaking earlier today – day one of the event at London’s ExCeL centre – Sarah Wilkinson said one of NHS Digital’s main current focuses is the NHS App, which is due to be launched nationally in December.
She suggested that healthcare was beginning the age of self-service, with the NHS App helping to support this shift.
The app, which is being developed by NHS Digital, will allow patients to “view aspects of their GP records”, though practitioners will be able to “permit” what they can see, Wilkinson explained.
The former CIO of the Home Office said: “The NHS App is about putting the patient in control of their data, their condition and their care.”
Wilkinson also referenced the NHS App Library and the accreditation process.
The library, which is currently in its beta phase, has been designed to bring together a number of tested digital health tools in one place.
Wilkinson said NHS Digital was “working to identify the best apps in the market”.
She added the aim was to give patients the guarantee that, when they download something from the library, they know “it’s good”.
Addressing the challenges facing NHS Digital, Wilkinson said it was not the technology, as the UK is “blessed” with a digital ecosystem that moves so quickly it is “making us dizzy”.
Instead, Wilkinson said she believed the biggest challenge was “the quality of data itself”.
“One area where we must make progress in the next few years is data standards,” she added.
Wilkinson suggested that secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock, was someone who understood this fully.
“Matt actually gets standards and interoperability,” she said.
Wilkinson said she was pleased Jeremy Hunt’s successor had “made it his mission” to help improve data standards.
Bringing her keynote speech to an end, Wilkinson told attendees to “hold tight”.
“This is an incredible time to be working in this field,” she concluded.