Patients will have greater control over their health and care data under new proposals, the Department for Health and Social Care says.
People would be able to use various apps to access their own medical information, procedures and care plans.
They could also manage appointments, repeat prescriptions and communicate with health and care staff.
According to the DHSC, the strategy – published by NHSX – will help clinicians make quicker and better informed decisions to deliver better treatment.
Improving data collection and how NHS systems work together would mean staff spend less time looking for information and more time caring for patients, they added.
NHSX is a joint unit that brings together teams from the DHSC, NHS England and NHS Improvement to “drive the digital transformation of care”, according to its website.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, said: “The pandemic has taught us we must be bold and the great strides we have made on vaccines and treatments during this time have been made possible by the way we use data.
“This strategy seeks to put people in control of their own data, while supporting the NHS in creating a modernised system fit for the 21st century which puts patients and staff in pole position.”
Matthew Gould, NHSX chief executive, said: “Throughout the pandemic we saw examples of data improving care and saving lives – from the speed of vaccine development to the discovery of treatments for COVID-19.
“If we want to continue improving care, we need to transform how we use data.
“Patients need to own their data, have access to their data, and have confidence on how the NHS is handling it on their behalf.
“This strategy takes this agenda firmly forward, and is good news for patients, staff, citizens and anyone who cares about the future of the NHS.”
Announcing the new strategy, NHSX said that there will also be a “new duty to share anonymous data safely and appropriately across the entire health system”.
It says: “New legislation will also be introduced to require all adult social care providers to provide information about all the services they fund to ensure service users have the best care and experience.
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“This could transform the care of the most vulnerable by ensuring staff have the information they need as soon as they need it, helping to provide the best possible care to the elderly.
“In addition, the strategy proposes better use of personal data to analyse key trends in the health of the nation.
“This could improve the commissioning and planning of services for local communities and allow better preparation to identify, prepare for and respond to future diseases.”
It comes a few weeks after the launch of a new digital GP data sharing system was pushed back amid concerns about privacy, although it is not clear if – or how – the two schemes might be related.
The NHSX website said the NHS is “committed to using data lawfully, with respect, and holding it securely with the right safeguards in place”.
The draft strategy has been published to allow public comments.
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