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’. 

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


NHS England publish new child health digital strategy

In November 2016, NHS England published Healthy Children: transforming child health information. The strategy sets out how information services and systems will be restructured to ensure better outcomes for children and young people and their families through:
  • accurate, up-to-date information 
  • high quality, relevant information 
  • personalised care
  • greater control of deciscions
  • improved monitoring

Maternity and Children's Dataset - experimental statistics available

The Maternity and Children's Data Sets project (MCDS) incorporates the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS), Children and Young People's Health Services Data Set (CYPHS) and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Data Set (CAMHS).
NHS Digital have begun producing experimental statistics for:

Once fully functional, the dataset will be used as a key driver to achieving better outcomes of care for mothers, babies and children in England.

For more information on MCDS, visit NHS Digital.

ChiMat data now available on Public Health England's Fingertips website

The National Child and Maternal Health Observatory (ChiMat) provides wide-ranging, authoritative data, evidence and practice related to children's, young people's and maternal health. In 2013, it became part of Public Healh England, and has developed a number of tools and reports to make it easier to access data for local areas.

In February 2017, all National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network data transferred from ChiMat's Data Atlas to Public Health England's Fingertips website, and a new Child and Maternal Health section was launched where users can view a range of indicators and easily compare outcomes in local populations across areas and regions.

Even though ChiMat data is available via PHE, it will continue to be maintained by the National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network.

Safeguarding children and improving their care in the UK

This paper (PDF, 374KB, 2 pages) recently published in the Lancet emphasises the need for a consistent identifier to be used to share information between agencies for children in the same way as for adults.

Information Sharing Matters

Developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and four children, the ‘Information Sharing Matters' programme sss to improve knowledge, skills and understanding of the benefits of effectively sharing information between families and a range of professionals including paediatricians, health visitors, GPs, therapists, child minders and pre-school and nursery teachers.

Output and information requirements specifications for the Child Health information service and systems - Public Health England

Output and information requirements specifications for the Child Health information service and systems (PDF, 2820KB, 178 pages) - This document is an update of the Information Requirements Specification (IRS) and the Output Based Specification (OBS) for Child Health Information Systems that was published as two documents in 2012 by the Department of Health. It is intended to support the commissioning and delivery of services to help meet requirements within the Child Health Information System - NHS Service Specification Section 28.

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)

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

Guidance on Informatics for Quality

NHS Atlas of Variation of Healthcare in Children and Young People - The most recent Atlas was published in 2015 and examines variations in the quality of children's healthcare provision across geographical areas of England. The Atlas can be used to 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

AOMRC Information and Digital Technologies Clinical Requirements 2020 - This document aims to ensure that clinical priorities are met and reflected at a national level. It outlines what information and communication technologies clinicians would expect in 2020 in the work environment. These standards have been designed to establish a level of detail that will inform decision-making and enable accountability.

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 Andy Spencer (Chair)
  • Dr Cheryl Battersby
  • Dr Ronny Cheung
  • Dr Mark Deakin
  • Dr Helen Duncan
  • Dr Carol Ewing
  • Dr Tim Ferguson
  • Dr Karen Horridge
  • Dr David Low (Co-opted Member)
  • Dr Raymond Nethercott
  • Dr Robert Robinson
  • Dr Damian Roland
  • Dr Jane Williams
  • Dr Gabriel Whitlinghum
  • Dr Sebastian Yuen

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: