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DHSC sets out ambitious targets for NHS App by 2023, beyond

Ongoing NHS digitisation efforts will form backbone of the new system

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced plans for even more integration of NHS services within the NHS app as part of a so-called digital revolution.

90% of NHS trusts will be expected to have electronic health records by December 2023, and 100% by March 2025. This will allow a more centralised point of access for users of the NHS App.

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By March 2023 the aim is for anyone to be able to receive NHS messages such as notices that prescriptions are available, register with a GP practice, access their child’s health records and access hospital correspondence all within the app.

The plans follow on from and make multiple references to the recent Data Saves Lives policy paper, in which a range of commitments to ensuring better patient connectivity are set out.

Currently, around half of all adults have the NHS App installed, and the DHSC is aiming to increase this to 75% by 2024. In September of that year, patients will also be able to complete pre-assessment checks for hospital from home, and it is hoped that this will help free up the time of NHS workers.

The changes come after decision-makers in the sector advised the DHSC that guidance to this point has been lacking in clarity and a cohesive vision for change, with the policy document setting out to remedy those concerns.

A budget of £2 billion has been assigned to the project, with work already underway to digitise the NHS. An additional £150 million has been earmarked specifically for digitising social care.

“This plan builds on our data strategy to revolutionise digital health and care, which will enable patients to manage hospital appointments from the NHS App and take more control of their own care at home, picking up problems sooner and seeking help earlier,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.

“Ensuring more personalisation and better join up of the system will benefit patients, free up clinician time, and help us to bust the COVID backlogs.”

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