While a centralised digital ID ecosystem has existed for some time, healthcare thought-leaders attending identity Week America advocated for a federated patient data ecosystem.

The healthcare sector, where decades of patient data is stored, trails behind sectors like finance and travel that are miles ahead in their digital transformations.

Currently, £1 Billion is being funnelled into plans to achieve digital transformation in the NHS which has in the past lagged behind sectors like banking and finance and travel.

The drive from healthcare now is to accelerate digital innovation to communicate diagnoses quicker with more intelligent technology and trusted communication to the patient. This sentiment was voiced by Linda Van Horn, Founder and CEO of iShare Medical who delivered a keynote in which she explained how the platform facilitates the trusted exchange of healthcare information to patents and authorised professionals by using direct addresses and patient identifiers, instead of weak patient data such as a person’s name and date of birth.

iShare’s keynote presentation called for a better data security environment and federated digital ID ecosystem which would allow a shift to digital healthcare and unlock countless other benefits of ensuring efficiency, cutting operational costs, and open clear interaction between the patient and professionals.

Sharing the findings of the Bipartisan Policy Center study of Harris County Texas, she stressed that out of a total 3.4M patients in the state, 249,213 individuals had the same first and last name and 69,807 pairs shared the same names and date of birth, reducing the level of accurate data sharing.

Highlighting the system flaws further, she quoted that 2,488 patients were named Maria Garcia, making the point that generic patient identifiers do not differentiate similar medical records.

The standards that should be followed for sharing patient medical records include identity proofing, authentication of a trust credential to prove someone’s identity and authorisation for access to sensitive medical data, which follows the standard procedure when travelling on a plane.

With a record high number of registered NHS patients, and data indicating 6.6 million currently await treatment, now is the urgent time to be updating data platforms in the NHS to manage the challenges that the system faces since the pandemic by connecting vast amounts of data which is owned by different departments of the NHS.

On the government’s top agenda, in light of the NHS’ COVID-19 backlog, is to create a Federated Data Platform (FDP) which will coordinate isolated data from 42 Integrated Care Systems to improve health outcomes and make the way health information is communicated more transparent.

In September, the publication of a new data sharing framework built with better trust capabilities to let third parties analyse England’s health data set out five principles for best practice around settings, data, authorised access, research projects and outputs.