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Innovation in digital standards helps NHS Digital improve child health information

Matteo Natalucci Published 31 October 2017

Programme aims to improve the health of children by using digital technology that promotes better information sharing


NHS Digital has launched an innovative way to share important information about a child’s health that aims to support the prevention of childhood illness, and improve children’s health and wellbeing.

New information standards have been developed in consultation with parents and health and care professionals which will support The Department of Health’s Healthy Child Programme.

The standards will allow children to receive the appropriate care by setting out what information on screening tests, immunisations and developmental milestones should be accessible to health and social care professionals, and parents/guardians for their treatment and care.

The Healthy Child Record Standard is the set of information that is currently exchanged between professionals and parents to support care of a child.

The standard is provided in a series of documents, including:

  • The Healthy Child Record Specification – this specifies the format of an electronic care record supporting the Healthy Child Programme, including the clinical headings and sub headings which provide the standardised structure for that record.
  • The Healthy Child Events Specification – this provides the information models setting out the detailed content for the events, including values and business rules used to support the creation of the FHIR Events Catalogue.

NHS Digital believes these standardised records will save time for health and care professionals and parents by ensuring they have the necessary information to make the right decisions for safer care. It will allow everyone involved in a child’s care, including parents, to have access to a standardised set of paperless, digital child health records.

The Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) has published a report on the standard, as part of a programme of work by NHS England and NHS Digital to improve the health of children by using digital technology that promotes better information sharing.

The programme aims to deliver the goals of the Healthy Child programme by transforming secure information sharing between professionals and parents, which will enable more personalised care.

PRSB chair, Professor Maureen Baker CBE, said, “Every child has the right to a healthy life and I am convinced that this new way of sharing standardised information digitally will support this goal by enabling safer and more efficient care, as well as better support for children and their families.”

Dr Andy Spencer, the clinical lead on the project on behalf of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said, “It is important that we empower parents to get involved in their child’s health and development. When these new standards are implemented, parents will have the same access to their child’s personal health record as health and care professionals, and they will always know who the records are being shared with and why.”


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