Data and COVID-19
In response to the the COVID-19 pandemic, data has been used in new ways to care for people and help the NHS and social care to better understand and respond to the virus.
Emergency legislation (temporary Control of Patient Information regulations) enabled us to dramatically speed up life-saving research, understand, anticipate and solve problems facing critical services and increase health and social care staff access to healthcare records for safer and more joined up care.
Data has helped us to track the spread of the virus and put ventilators and oxygen where it is needed so that no hospital has run out; it has helped us to first identify and then protect those most at risk from the virus; it has proven the efficacy and safety of our world-leading vaccination programme. Research has helped us, and is still helping us. It is helping us to understand the virus better, how to treat it and how to protect those most vulnerable to it.
COVID-19 has not just revolutionised the speed at which staff can access information about those in their care, but it has also broken down cultural barriers around data sharing which have been swept away by the strength of the clinical case. In response, information governance guidance has begun a simplification process that will build staff confidence around appropriate data sharing for the public good.