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Scotland launches national digital platform for health and care

The online platform aims to give people access to their health and social care data, as well as provide staff with access to data to inform decisions about care

The Scottish government has launched a national digital platform (NDP), designed and delivered by NHS Education for Scotland together with several other health and social care partners.

The national digital platform aims to offer patients a digital front door to NHS and social care in Scotland, giving them access to their own health and care data online.

The NDP is a standard platform that can be built upon by app developers and NHS organisations as they require. This means that as NHS and social care organisations across the country continue to increase their digital offerings, new services can easily be added to the platform and interact with existing systems and services, and reusable components can be shared.

Commenting on the launch, Humza Yousaf, Scottish cabinet secretary for health and social care, said: “Within our health and social care system, services are steadily becoming available on digital platforms for those who wish to use them. It is important that these digital platforms work seamlessly together to ensure that people are able to access the right care, at the right place, at the right time.

“I welcome the launch of the national digital platform’s website, which will offer useful information on using digital platforms and how the NDP can bring together multiple services in one place,” he said.

As well as giving patients access and control over their own data, the platform also means staff get easier access to data, which can in turn lead to better decision-making around patient care, and that planners and researchers are able to improve the efficiency of care.

It also offers app developers a standard approach to digital infrastructure, as well as allowing developers to deploy multi-cloud software quickly and efficiently to meet the needs of health and social care partners.

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Some NHS services are already using the platform for certain services, including a stroke assessment tool, Covid-19 vaccine management, ophthalmic electronic patient record Open Eyes and the ReSPECT emergency care patient summaries.

NHS Education for Scotland CEO Karen Reid said the project should have “massive benefits for the people of Scotland”.

“A handful of services are already using the platform, but this is just the start,” she said. “As an open platform just like you’d get on your phone, we’re making it possible for developers everywhere to come up with innovative apps to help us all.

“Ultimately, the platform will make it simpler to deliver technology that improves the care and wellbeing of people in Scotland,” said Reid. “And we’re grateful to the massive range of stakeholders who have worked closely with us to make this a reality.”

Following the pandemic, Scotland set out an NHS recovery plan, committing £1bn to reform the Scottish NHS, including increasing the uptake of digital systems and services.

The Scottish government is also aiming to significantly increase the use of video consultations in health and care settings.

It recently extended its plans for the Near Me video consultation platform, funding 55 hubs across Scotland, providing private areas for video consultations for those who either struggle with finding a confidential space to hold the consultation, or don’t have a good internet connection or access to a suitable device.

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