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Joe Tibbetts is the CEO Boilerhouse Media Group and managing editor Healthcare Innovation Monitor. Joe has advised many government, NHS and commercial healthsector organisations on digital communications

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Using the NHS number in health & social care integration: easier said than done

Easy and friction free sharing of NHS number is essential for Health and Social Care integration. Paul Richardson, managing director of CareMotive, talks at the ADASS Care Apps Show about the importance and frustrations of sharing NHS numbers across all agencies in the transformation of health and social care provision.

If integrated health and social care is to become a reality, a national unique identifier is required.

To support government policy on integration, all NHS providers and local authorities are under increasing pressure to use the NHS number to identify patients or adult social care users, and to use the number in all communications.

Commitment to its use is made in NHS England's Five Year Forward View, and Better Care Fund plans, drawn up in 2014/15 to guide health & social care integration activity, were required to confirm use of the NHS number or plans for when this would be achieved.

An essential task for social care providers is therefore to identify and hold the NHS numbers of their service users, something that is easier said than done, as Paul Richardson, Managing Director of accredited health systems provider CareMotive explains in this video.

Interviewed at the ADASS Care Apps Show in November 2015, Paul says that while there are NHS services in place to do this, the services are slow and match rates can be as low as 60%, compared with the 80-90% CareMotive’s software can achieve – also with much shorter turnaround times.

The company is also looking at how summary care records can be made readily available, within required data security constraints, to professional and family carers who need to know the essentials of a service user’s current conditions and treatments, without having to have access to their full patient data.

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