Using Your Information Confidentially for Risk Stratification

There are two kinds of risk stratification:

  1. The first kind is a process for identifying some patients within a Practice who might benefit from extra assessment or support with self-care because of the nature of their health problems. The process is a mixture of analysis of information by computer followed by review of the results by a clinical team at the Practice. The analysis can, for example, help predict the risk of an unplanned hospital admission so that preventative measures can be taken as early as possible to try and avoid it. In the end, it is the clinical team of the GP Practice that will decide how your care is best managed.

  2. The second kind is a process for identifying patterns of ill health and needs across our local population. This will be done by pulling together all the information in an anonymised file (where your identity has been removed) to look at patterns and trends of illness across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland as a whole. This will help our Public Health Department and those in the NHS who are responsible for planning and arranging health services across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (known as commissioners) better understand the current and possible future health needs of the local population. This will help them make provision for the most appropriate health services for the people of this area. This group of staff will not be able to identify you as an individual under any circumstances.

In both cases secure NHS systems and processes will protect your health information and patient confidentiality at all times.

What information about me will be analysed?

The minimum amount of information about you will be used. The information included is:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • GP Practice and Hospital attendances and admissions
  • Medications prescribed
  • Medical conditions (in code form) and other things that may affect your health such as height, weight for example

How will my information be kept secure and confidential?

Information from your GP record will be sent via a secure computer connection to a special location called a 'safe haven' at NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit (NHS Arden & GEM CSU) in Leicester This safe haven carries special accreditation from the NHS. It is designed to protect the confidentiality of your information. There are strict controls in place. It enables information to be used in a way that does not identify you. The GP Practice remains in control your information at all times.

Before any analysis starts, any information that could identify you will be removed and replaced by a number. The analysis is done by computer. The results are returned to the GP Practice. Only your GP Practice can see the results in a way that identifies you.

What will my GP Practice do with the analysis?

The results can help the clinical team decide on some aspects of your future care. For example, if the clinical team at the Practice think that you might benefit from a review of your care, they can arrange this. You may then be invited in for an appointment to discuss your health and treatment. If the Practice thinks you might benefit from referral to a new service, this will be discussed with you firstly.

What should I do if I have further questions about risk stratification?

Please ask the Practice staff if you can speak to someone in more detail.

What if I want to opt out?

If you feel satisfied that you understand what risk stratification is but you do not wish to be included, you can choose to opt-out. In this case, please inform the Receptionist who can ensure that your information is not included.

How we keep your records confidential

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal and contractual duty to keep information about you confidential in line with the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice. We also have information security and data protection policies to safeguard your information.

Our duties are to

  • Maintain full and accurate records of the care we provide to you
  • Keep records about you confidential, secure and accurate (including after you die)

You can find out more about how your records are kept confidential on our website.

Access to your Health Records

If you want to see or obtain a printed copy of your records speak to the healthcare professional treating you or contact the Practice Manager at your local surgery.

Please note you may have to pay to get a copy of the records, and if you are asking for someone else's records you will need to provide evidence that you are authorised to do so on their behalf.

Why does the NHS need to hold records on me?

In the NHS we always aim to provide you with the highest possible quality health care. As part of this it is important that we keep comprehensive up to date records about you, which can either be kept in writing or stored on our computer systems.

The kind of information that we keep in our records may include:

  • Basic details about you, such as address, date of birth, next of kin
  • When we have seen or had contact with you
  • Notes and reports about treatment you have received and care you need
  • Results e.g. x-rays, blood tests and screening including evaluations of your health risk
  • Relevant information from people who care for you and know you well, such as health professionals and relatives

This information allows medical professionals to see the full picture of your individual health care needs and make sure you receive the right treatment, first time.

How your records are used to help you

With your consent, relevant parts of your named health record can be shared to help other professionals to provide the right care for you. For example, if you have to visit an accident and emergency department, if the doctor is able to view your health records, they can be sure they understand enough about your medical history, current medication and treatment to treat you safely and effectively.

Other professionals who could ask to view your records include community nurses, ambulance services or social care workers. You will be asked for your consent before anyone is able to view these records, unless you are unable to make such a choice through incapacity or severe injury.

We may also use information in your records, in a non-identifiable form, to help us plan your future healthcare need. This might include identifying risks to help prevent illness in the first place, planning for extra services in your area and helping people to plan, buy and keep track of health services.

Any sharing of your named record will be in line with the NHS Code of Practice for Confidentiality, which you can find out more about on our website.

We will never share your information with other third parties, such as insurance companies, without your explicit consent.

If you have concerns about what information is held or shared about you, or want to change or correct information in your record please discuss this with your GP or another member of the practice team. If, after discussion, you wish to restrict or prevent use of your information outside of the practice please tell them and they will make the necessary arrangements.

Data protection act

We need to hold personal information about you on our computer system and in paper records to help us to look after your health needs, and your doctor is responsible for their accuracy and safe-keeping. Please help to keep your record up to date by informing us of any changes to your circumstances.

Doctors and staff in the practice have access to your medical records to enable them to do their jobs. From time to time information may be shared with others involved in your care if it is necessary. Anyone with access to your record is properly trained in confidentiality issues and is governed by both a legal and contractual duty to keep your details private.

All information about you is held securely and appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent accidental loss.

In some circumstances we may be required by law to release your details to statutory or other official bodies, for example if a court order is presented, or in the case of public health issues. In other circumstances you may be required to give written consent before information is released - such as for medical reports for insurance, solicitors etc.

In order to ensure your privacy, we will not disclose information over the telephone or fax unless we are sure that we are talking to you. Information will not be disclosed to family, friends, or spouses unless we have prior written consent, and we do not leave messages with others.

You have a right to see your records if you wish. Please ask at reception if you would like further details. An appointment will be required. In some circumstances a fee may be payable.