Working together to make information sharing workshops a success

Emma Hart, 
Engagement Manager,
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

My colleague Stuart Bolton and I have recently been very busy dedicating our time to presenting sessions at the Better Care Fund’s regional workshops on ‘Information Sharing to Support Direct Care’. The events had a great line up of speakers including representatives from the Information Governance Alliance  and the Local Government Association.

There has been a fantastic turn out at all six workshops and I am overwhelmed with the efforts that health and social care colleagues have made in order to attend these events, in some cases travelling from one side of the country to the other. For me, this represents motivation and enthusiasm but equally that there is an evident requirement to find solutions and to share stories about the integration journeys that are taking place.

Stuart and I ran two sessions at each event, both of which focused on the cultural or people barriers to information sharing for direct care; that is all the activities that directly contribute to the diagnosis, care and treatment of the individual.  Some of the initial themes that have emerged from the sessions include;

  • Language: It was felt that complex language can create barriers to information sharing, for example the use of technical IT based phraseology.
  • Risk: Health staff described themselves as being risk averse thus making it harder and harder to share information.  It was felt that often the personal risk around information sharing perceived by the practitioner prevents information sharing. There was also the perception that it is often too difficult or ‘risky’ to share information internally within an organisation, let alone to then share with partners.
  • Trust: Discussions have highlighted the notion of trust as being key to information sharing. Trust can be identified in numerous forms; patient trust, carers trust, practitioners trust and organisational trust to name a few.
  • Leadership: People spoke about leaders both as a barrier and as an enabler to information sharing. This may be down to the ‘leaders’ expertise or knowledge of the subject area, or simply due to their perception of how important information sharing is to them.

To encourage people to  take the learning beyond the workshops and support the development of networks we asked audience members to make a pledge to share learning around information sharing with the person that they were sat next to. Take a look on our twitter feed to see a few examples of the pledges so far.

On a final point, it was great to hear feedback that the publications on our website had proved extremely useful to some of the attendees. One lady explained that she was new to her role in information governance and felt very lucky to have found our website as colleagues had informed her that up until recently there had been very little material like ours to support them.

To read more about information sharing barriers in health and social care please and look out for our summary report which will provide an overview of the feedback from our sessions in the near future.

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