Major NHS accident and emergency (A&E) departments in the UK will need to alter their systems to collect and share specific, electronic, non-confidential data about attendances involving violent crime, according to new rules.
The new ‘Standard on Information Sharing to Tackle Violence’ has been published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the government body responsible for information, data and IT systems for health and social care.
The data is intended to be shared with Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs), which are comprised of representatives from the police, local authorities, fire and rescue authorities, the probation service and health workers, to help them target violent crime hotspots.
According to the HSCIC implementation guidance, the NHS departments will need to build functionality into their patient administration systems (PAS) to record the time and date of incidents, the time and date of arrival at A&E, the specific location of incidents and the primary means of assault (the weapon or body part used).
“The options for data collection are either to build the functionality into the Patient Administration System (PAS), or to collect and collate the data manually. The former is the preferred method as it is more robust and sustainable in the long-term and will save staff time and effort”, the document said.
The standard is based on findings by Cardiff University’s violence and society research group which indicated that sharing data in this way can cut the severity of injuries and reduce A&E attendances resulting from violence incidents by 35 percent.
Professor Jonathan Shepherd, who leads the Cardiff Violence Prevention Programme, said: "This is a major step forward in the drive to reduce violence and the burdens violence places on victims, the criminal justice system and the NHS.
“A significant proportion of A&Es are already complying. The information standard also ensures that IT suppliers to the NHS include this dataset in their software, helping to ensure implementation across all UK counties.”
The new standard “will offer software suppliers opportunities to develop new solutions to streamline analysis for data users including police, health bodies and local authorities”, the university added.