Improvements to data collection and digital technology has huge potential to respond to the needs of seriously mentally ill individuals. This section contains information and links to resources in this section that support implementing improvements to data and digital technology. 

To ensure better consistency, availability and quality of health services across the UK, NHS data collection and use of digital tools must transform. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health says the information recorded by health services should reflect both social and clinical outcomes for each individual, requiring better data linkage across the NHS, public health, education and other sectors.

By 2020/21, commissioners should publish a range of benchmarking data to provide transparency about mental health spending and performance. Data should be collected and linked from different public services and agencies to help meet the needs of people with mental health problems.

“Priority should be given to tackling inequalities by ensuring data is made available – across sectors – to allow for transparency about how local areas are addressing age, gender, ethnicity, disability and sexuality in their plans”.

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health also sets out a requirement for more national support with the analysis and presentation of raw data to inform good commissioning and local planning.

“The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality.”

– Caldicott review: information governance in the health and care system (2013)

Recommended actions

Our recommended actions support those set out in Improving physical healthcare for people living with severe mental illness (SMI) in primary care: Guidance for CCGs, particularly the Strategic planning and Monitoring, evaluation and improvement sections. Follow the links below for more information and tools to support you:

 Tools to use

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). Public Health England have published a mental health Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) toolkit to link mental health data, policy and knowledge to help planners understand needs within the local population and assess local services.

Caldicott review: Information governance in the health and care system . Following a request from the Secretary of State for Health, Dame Fiona Caldicott carried out an independent review of how information about patients is shared across the health and care system.

Information governance resources. The Information Governance Alliance hosted by NHS Digital have published Information Governance Resources, which sets out the law and best practice on sharing information securely to improve patient care.

Health and Social Care Integration: Culture and information sharing in mental health. The Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing “works with local places and central government departments to investigate, challenge and overcome cultural barriers to information sharing to help public sector reform” and has published case studies for mental health and integrated digital care records.

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