South Devon and Torbay

Within South Devon and Torbay there has been an ambition to create a culture where people want to share information for a number of years. With an overarching Information Sharing Agreement already in place for a number of years, signed up to by health and social care organisations including local authorities, it demonstrated the organisational intent with regards to the sharing of information, as well as the expectations in terms of security and management.

More recently this has been further supplemented to provide a robust approach and the practical tools needed for effective sharing. To do this, the team initially held an Information Sharing Seminar in involving staff from the partner organisations in November 2014. They used feedback from the seminar along with best practice guidelines from a number of organisations including the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing, Information Governance Alliance, NHS England, HSCIS, and the Information Commissioners Officer, to produce a set of documents which are easy to use, consistent but comprehensive enough to provide real assurance and something that would benefit the local healthcare economy and the local people of South Devon and Torbay.

The need for a framework has been highlighted by a number of local initiatives that are currently in development, which aim to improve the health and wellbeing of patients. Technology is being used to facilitate information sharing; however it is also recognised that without robust information sharing principles, the desired outcomes will not be achieved. In the implementation of these initiatives, the toolkit is currently being trialled to assess its effectiveness, and feedback is being gathered and reflected in the revised versions.

It is hoped that by having this in place, South Devon and Torbay will create a:

  • Robust and clear process to enable organisations to share information across boundaries and care settings;
  • Culture of collaboration and trust in relation to information sharing;
  • Platform to learn from existing information sharing processes;
  • Reduction in duplication of information shared;
  • Assurance that information is only being used for a specific purpose;
  • ‘Data map’ which will illustrate the flows of information across organisations; and
  • Evidence of compliance with the relevant statutory requirements.

Find out more about information sharing agreements and information sharing protocols.