Information sharing in health and social care?
Information sharing in health and social care is becoming more and more important as technology advances, yet still, much of the information shared isn’t effectively being used, and even when it is, not all of it will be used in the way it was intended to be. Health and social care professionals need to start approaching this skill with a different mindset if they want information sharing to be truly effective. Here’s how to do just that.
What is information sharing?
The term information sharing is used to describe any time information is shared among people. In health, a specific kind of information sharing happens all the time. For example, when a patient goes for an appointment at their doctor’s office, they might need to fill out forms about previous medical procedures and medications. They will also be asked personal questions about things like family history that aren’t captured on those documents.
During that appointment, both parties are likely to try to collect more information so they can provide better care going forward; they are also likely to create new data sets. This type of information sharing has been happening forever difference now is we have more sophisticated tools for doing it.
What are the benefits of information sharing?
Information sharing is necessary for many reasons. For example, organizations may share information among themselves, as well as with individuals outside of their organization, such as partners and stakeholders. Through information sharing, organizations can benefit from increased collaboration that improves the quality of service for their clients or patients. Information sharing can also be a way for organizations to identify gaps and improve services where they are lacking.
Lastly, information sharing contributes to transparency within government organizations by reducing duplication of efforts between departments or regions. However, there are potential issues associated with poor information-sharing practices that need to be considered when developing an information-sharing strategy. For example, privacy issues may arise if unauthorized parties gain access to confidential client records through hacking.
What are the barriers to information sharing?
Health and social care services are some of the most information-intensive areas of public life. Yet despite the myriad benefits that come from getting key players working together, change often proves extremely difficult. Often one of the most significant barriers is a lack of clarity about what information should be shared, with whom, when, why, and for what purpose. Clarifying these issues can make all the difference.
How can we remove these barriers?
There are a number of reasons why we might find it difficult to share information. The first barrier is often rooted in trust. If a practitioner or other staff member has shared personal information with someone else, they may be reluctant to share more even if they know that getting additional people involved would benefit both patients/service users. So how can we overcome these fears? It’s vital that colleagues feel they can trust each other and that their concerns will be treated seriously.
What other issues arise when trying to share information?
Information sharing doesn’t always go according to plan. One of the issues that many people report is a reluctance among staff members to share information, often due to issues like data protection laws, internal resistance, and past experiences of being burned by being too open. This can make implementing new initiatives difficult. Fortunately, there are ways around these problems.
How can we solve them?
The reason healthcare information systems are vulnerable is that they were designed without security protocols. Now we can fix them, but first, we have to create a process that makes sure bad data doesn’t get into an information system.
When you are developing your own security policies, remember that sometimes what looks like bad data might be good data like a name spelled with a hyphen or a different surname.
Think about why that person has multiple names. Then make sure your policies work for all of those scenarios. Finally, if you don’t already have one, develop an information security team that can help advise on these matters too.
A case study using an app
Zynga is a young woman who suffers from depress
ion. She has spent several months having CBT cognitive behavioral therapy sessions with her therapist and her mother, who had herself suffered from depression for years, using an app that helps track their progress and supports them through difficult times.
In their latest session, Zynga describes feeling exhausted by negative thoughts but is working hard on challenging them. To support her effort and also because she’s concerned that Zynga may be overdoing things, Zynga’s mum suggests she set up a daily activity challenge for herself in one of her ‘positive thought’ apps.