The power of information

Title of driver: The power of information: putting all of us in control of the health and care information we need

Source: Department of Health

Link to main document

Publication format: PDF

Date of publication: May 2012

Summary of driver: It is a 10-year framework, rather than a detailed strategy for delivery.  The strategy document states that it ‘focuses on information in its broadest sense, including the support people need to navigate and understand the information available’ (2012: 5). The rationale given for this is to ensure that information is available in ways that reduce health inequalities, rather than being increased as a result of the ‘digital by default’ approach in the broader strategy (2012: 15).

Key features of driver:

Changes to national information delivery: NHS Choices and NHS Direct will be replaced with ‘a new, single website “portal”
provided by the Government from 2013.

Support and information: The strategy makes several references to ‘support’. These references can be used to
promote information services.

Health literacy: The strategy supports the development of health literacy (2012: 54). It suggests that health trainers may play a role in supporting health literacy, although this is also a role on which health information services and health libraries can lead.

Information skills: The strategy indicates that health and social care professionals are key ‘information givers’ and that they need to have relevant skills to offer information (2012: 67).

Service integration implications: There is an explicit expectation that patients’ NHS Number will be used as a means
to identify individuals and to integrate their experience of care.

Primary audience: All NHS Trusts.

Impact on library policy/practice: Despite the statement that the strategy concerns ‘information in its broadest sense’, the main focus of the strategy is on data and the role that data can play in supporting high-quality integrated services.  The strategy does not discuss libraries or information services, but it emphasises the importance of support, information skills and health literacy, which provide potential opportunities for library and information service providers. The only explicit reference to information services is that ‘the NHS Commissioning Board will wish to consider publishing commissioning guidance on support, information and advocacy services’ (2012: 66); such guidance could be valuable for ensuring the future of public-facing services.

Case studies / Local service profile examples mapping to this driver: None as of 21.8.12

Date last updated: 20.9.12

Due for review: 21.8.13

Group member responsible: Not yet identified

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