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Integrated health and care portal targeted in Holyrood digital revamp

Neil Merrett Published 22 March 2017

Updated Scottish Government Digital strategy details aims for online public service delivery and supporting data infrastructure including travel care and justice functions


The Scottish Government has committed itself to develop a national portal to access health and care services and records, electronic voting solutions, as well as a “Pay As You Go ePurse” for transport as part of its latest digital strategy.

The document, entitled ‘Realising Scotland's full potential in a digital world’, details broad ambitions for broadband access, cyber security efforts, strategies to support business growth and digital skills, and also sets out ambitions for public sector service delivery and data use.

In line with similar UK government initiatives, interoperability and more integrated care, supported by a refreshed policy for sharing open and personal data to underpin services, were included among the key focuses of the strategy.

Holyrood therefore is committed to publishing a new Digital Health and Social Care Strategy in 2017, while also pledging to deliver the 2021 Census “predominantly online” and ensuring public trust in the process.

The document also commits to engage with stakeholders, the public and campaign groups on implementing mechanisms for ID assurance, building on existing ‘myaccount’ solution work.

Under the guise of making use of further devolved powers, the Scottish Government said it hoped to redesign the process of applying for social security benefits.

Among key aims for public service delivery, Holyrood has committed to the following objectives:

  • The creation of a national portal for health and care services to support better access to information
  • Supporting digital recording of evidence, reports, decisions and judgements through a digital platform that can hold case information to overhaul court processes
  • Giving community health workers remote access to updated information
  • Allow for transport across the country via a single “saltirecard” smart card along with a so-called ePurse

From the perspective of data management, the strategy has also set out broader aims around transparency and accountability.  This includes vowing to “build an understanding of how [citizen] data is being used for the public benefit, and of the arrangements in place to guarantee the security of their data.”

Another key commitment is to create a skills programme in collaboration with Data Lab to build up data science expertise and improving analytics skills to support broader innovation.

In line with aims for service interoperability, the strategy also intends to drive open data adoption in the public sector, particularly with regard to non-personal information on people and businesses that can be published on the site.

Holyrood also intends to introduce a platform for citizens and researchers to better understood datasets that are being held about people and organisations in Scotland, according to the strategy. 

The UK government published its Digital Strategy document earlier this month.

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