Informatics for quality

Technology is transforming delivery of care, and patient and professional relationships/ communication. This page ‘signposts’ informatics information and guidance available to healthcare professionals and outlines the work of the College’s Informatics for Quality Committee.


On this page:

What is informatics?

  • Working with the patient: for example consultations, surgical procedures, making an appointment.
  • Recording the patient contact: this includes making record entries (demographic as well as clinical) and communications with colleagues about the patient.
  • Reflection and learning: this includes personal learning, audit, research and use of information for service development, quality monitoring and planning. [ref]

These examples of everyday actions highlight the importance of informatics in the delivery of high quality, accurate and timely care to patients. The challenge for paediatricians is to engage in the informatics agenda and embrace the ‘information revolution’. 

The RCPCH is dedicated to developing quality indicators to ensure that data collection, reporting systems, healthcare records and access reflect the needs of children. 


CYPHOF - Information Sharing Theme Group

The Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum (CYPHOF) annual report reviews progress on improving health outcomes for children and young people.  The Forum’s second Annual Report looks at the Forum’s impact since it was established in January 2012, and looks ahead to what the Forum thinks the next Government should do to improve children and young people’s health outcomes.

REPORT OF THE CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S HEALTH OUTCOMES FORUM 2014/15 – Information Sharing Theme Group (PDF, 390KB, 6 pages)

NHS Numbers for Babies (NN4B)

As reported in our previous bulletins, the existing NHS Numbers for Babies (NN4B) service will be decommissioned on 31 December 2014. The Spine has been enhanced so that birth notifications will be sent or received directly via the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) instead. 

NN4B July 2014 bulletin (PDF, 73KB, 4 pages) D Low, 2014

NN4B December 2013 bulletin (PDF, 87KB, 4 pages) D Low, 2013

Paediatrician's Handbook

A free, invaluable resource for College members - the ‘Paediatrician’s Handbook’ brings together an enormous amount of information, guidance and advice on many important issues that govern a paediatrician’s working life. The handbook will empower paediatricians to improve working practices to raise the standard of paediatric medical care and to promote high quality, effective and efficient health services for children and young people.

Informatics content in the Paediatrician's Handbook (PDF, 190KB, 10 Pages) 

A Vision for CCIOs and 12 Point Plan

Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIOs) were established in response to the National Programme for I.T’s failure to be clinician-led. The CCIO network aims to be the driving force of IT development, informed by the interests and preferences of patients, reinforcing that the main aim of health informatics is to improve patient care.  Following the Francis Inquiry and a renewed appreciation for quality regulation, the CCIO has set out delivering their vision through a 12 point plan based on regulation, commissioning, incentives, quality reporting as well as education and training.

12 Point Plan (PDF, 66KB, 6 pages) CCIO 2014

Information Strategy – ‘The Power of Information’

The DH published the long awaited Information Strategy- The Power of Information on May 21st 2012. It contains significant aspirations and actions to improve health outcomes for children. This strategy identifies an early priority to access maternity records and the ‘red book’ [PCHR] online, emphasises the importance of information sharing for children to support integrated care and safeguarding and stresses an important tool to achieve this – the consistent use of the NHS Number across health and social care.

Visit DH Information Strategy for more information. 

Maternity and Children's Data Set - national approval

The Maternity and Children's Data Set has now been approved for implementation across all relevant NHS settings, with data collection planned to commence April 2013. A key driver to achieving better outcomes of care for mothers, babies and children, providers of maternity, child health and CAMHS services will need to take steps to comply with this standard.

Visit Health and Social Care information Centre for more information.

Information requirements for child health information systems

Published by the DH, this document sets out the information requirements for the delivery of child health services. It aims to support the delivery of child health services and deliver consistency in functionality of these important information systems in order to promote better, safer and more effective care for children.

View the document

ChiMat: new tools and reports

The National Child and Maternal Health Observatory (ChiMat) has developed a number of new tools and reports to make it easier to access data for your local area:

  • Outcome versus Expenditure Tool – Child Health allows you to pinpoint opportunities to improve the quality of outcomes and productivity for services in your local area by comparing expenditure within a fixed area with service performance in terms of health and wellbeing outcomes.
  • Local Authority Child Health Profiles 2012 were published in March andprovide a snapshot of child health and well-being for each local authority in England using key health indicators, which enables comparison locally, regionally and nationally.
  • Coming soon the QIPP Resource Pack – Child Health will show a range of data which will help you identify opportunities to improve the quality and value of local secondary care services for children while placing this in the context of wider issues such as child poverty.

Visit Chimat to find out more

Chief Clinical Information Officer: campaignCCIO.jpg

The College is supporting the EHI CCIO campaign calling for the development of a new role - Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) - to provide clear clinical leadership on IT projects and the use of information in NHS organisations.

Visit the CCIO web page to find out more. 

Guidance on Informatics for Quality

NHS Atlas of Variation of Healthcare in Children and Young People (2012) - The 2012 Atlas examines, for the first time, variations in the quality of children's healthcare provision across geographical areas of England. The Atlas will aid clinicians, commissioners and service users to identify priority areas for improving outcome, quality and productivity. 

The challenge of the information culture for the paediatrician (PDF, 164KB, 7 pages), D Low, A Spencer, 2011 -Published in the BMJ journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, this article explores the informatics agenda and the need for the paediatrician to ‘embrace the ‘Information revolution’

Supporting Paediatricians to Develop Quality Indicators (PDF, 344KB, 17 pages), RCPCH, 2011 - Forming part of the RCPCH Strategy for Quality Improvement, this document provides children’s healthcare providers with guidance together with a proposed set of quality indicators for use at both local and regional level.

Informatics tools

Discharge Summary (and Implementation Toolkit), Connecting for Health - This standardised electronic summary has been created for healthcare providers by Connecting for Health and the DH to enable the continuous care of patients once they have been discharged from hospital.

Summary Care Record - This electronic patient record system enables healthcare providers to view vital patient information regardless of the patient’s primary healthcare provider. This is currently being trialled in multiple regions across the country.

Health information education

Embedding informatics in Clinical Education eICE - This e-learning project has been set up to promote and support the teaching of informatics to clinicians, including doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professions, at both pre- and post-registration levels.

RCPCH Informatics for Quality Committee

Doctor inputting data on tabletThe RCPCH Informatics for Quality Committee comprises a group of paediatricians who are committed to improving the use of technology to the benefit of health professionals and, as a consequence, the patients they treat.  The College is represented by these members on a significant number of national and regional committees including groups looking at the patient held record, child health systems and datasets, contact point, choose and book, and many others.

The current members of this committee are:

  • Dr David Low (Chair)
  • Dr Yvonne Parks
  • Dr Carol Ewing
  • Dr Damian Roland
  • Dr Jane WIlliams
  • Dr Gabriel Whitlinghum
  • Dr Nick Prince
  • Dr Helen Duncan
  • Dr Karen Horridge
  • Dr Raymond Nethercott
  • Dr Mark Deakin
  • Dr Robert Robinson

If you would like to become involved in this committee’s work, or have a question for any member of the committee, please contact

More links

Below are some useful links for further paediatric informatics information: