People’s views on record sharing between the health and social care professionals involved in their care in Surrey

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Summary of report content

In the summer of 2015 Healthwatch Surrey carried out a survey investigating the views of people in Surrey around sharing of health and care records between the health and care professionals involved in their care. The survey was commissioned by Surrey County Council as data sharing is considered a key enabler to integrating health, care and support services, and hence of providing greater person-centred coordinated care. The survey was distributed via a variety of channels both in hard copy and online, and excited considerable public and professional interest. 577 surveys were completed. The issue was also explored in four focus groups with people over 65 years of age in locations across the county. The survey found that: - Over a third of respondents were unaware prior to taking part in the survey that health and care records are not readily shared between health and care professionals. - 58% had personal or family experience of having had to repeat their stories to different health or care professionals, or of their care pathway being affected by lack of record sharing, and over half of these shared their story with us. 91% of respondents would share all or part of their records. Only 7% would opt out of sharing completely. - 94% of respondents would share with all or some of the health and care professionals involved in their care, nearly two thirds of these would be happy to share with all the relevant professionals. - Nearly all respondents were willing to have their records shared between GPs (97% in favour) and hospital doctors (94%). Nearly three quarters were happy to share with other medical staff giving care whether in a GP surgery or a hospital environment (77%, 72%). Less than half of respondents were happy about having records shared with social care professionals (49%), especially home care workers (33%). Recommendations - More person-centred care, where people have to tell their story only once, have one point of contact, and feel they are being listened to. - Strong safeguards and staff training are in place to ensure confidentiality and guard against breaches of information to third parties. - Clarity and reassurance around the confines of the sharing. Ensure that the boundaries of the sharing are controlled and provide reassurance that this is the case, that records will only be shared between the health and care professional involved in people’s care, and will not be passed on or accessible to third parties not involved in people’s care. - Give people the choice about how much of their record is shared and with whom. Provide people with the option to check their records themselves if they wish, and the facility to request records be amended if inaccurate. - Further discussion around the divide in confidence and trust between health and social care professionals. More information around the role of different health and care professionals, the way people’s information will be shared between them, the benefits and the effects of sharing. - Find a means to support older people or people with more complex or involved medical and health histories, whether by schemes such as the message in a bottle, or via record sharing, so that they do not have to remember and recount their history every time they see a new professional.

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General details

Report title 
People’s views on record sharing between the health and social care professionals involved in their care in Surrey
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Surrey
Date of publication 
Thursday, 1 October, 2015
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 October, 2015
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 1 October, 2015
Type of report 
Key themes 
Patient records
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if known 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.