NHS Digital launches child healthcare info standards

Specifications designed to support parent access to digital health records

NHS Digital has launched a new set of standards for sharing information on children’s health, relevant to activities including screening tests, immunisations and developmental milestones.

Baby feet emerging from sheetIt said they should be accessible to health and social care professionals, and parents/guardians for their treatment and care. In turn, this should help to pave the way to a standardised set of paperless, digital child health records.

The standards are divided into three documents. The Healthy Child Record Specification specifies the format of an electronic care record to support the Healthy Child Programme, including the clinical headings and sub-headings which provide the standardised structure for records.

The Healthy Child Events specification provides information models of detailed content for the events, including values and business rules used to support the creation of the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) Events Catalogue.

Along with these comes the implementation guidance, which sets out issues identified during the project. It is an interim version with further information to follow.

Consultative approach

It has all been developed in consultation with parents and health and care professionals, and to support the Department of Health's Healthy Child Programme, which aims to enable more personalised care through better information sharing.

The Professional Record Standards Body has published a report on the standards, saying it expects NHS IT systems suppliers to develop solutions based on the specifications.

PRSB chair and GP, Professor Maureen Baker, 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, 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."

Image by Doreendotto, CC-BY-SA-3.0 thgrough flickr