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My NHS website to provide new data tools

05/07/16

Head of National Information Board potential of site as source of open data on health service

Researchers will be able to construct their own groupings of data on the My NHS website as part of its role as a source of open data on the health service.

John-NewtonJohn Newton (pictured), interim chair of the National Information Board (NIB), has outlined the plan in a letter to Minister of Health Jeremy Hunt on the plans for the role of the website in “intelligent transparency” of the NHS.

He says the ability to construct data groupings will be one of the new functions to be introduced to My NHS during the summer, beginning with hospital data.

There will also be metrics for hospitals’ seven day services, digital transformation, integrated health and care, cancer, clinical commissioning groups, GPs, hospital efficiency and home care. These will initially be available as scorecards but the aim is enable people to combine the different datasets.

There are also plans to present data for patient pathways.

First point of call

“My NHS has clear potential as a first point of call for people in search of health and care data,” Newton says in the letter. “It now carries a significant range of rich information and will shortly offer a more sophisticated user experience, with a range of searching options and data visualisations.

“Clearly there are still important gaps but the amount of comparative information now available is impressive.”

Newton acknowledges that there are areas in which existing data is weak, notably for community services and social care, and that this could create limitations. But he adds that the NIB has a data programme that involves creating new collections in social care, community care and mental health.

He also emphasises that no data collections are being commissioned for My NHS, but that it is bringing together data owned and published by other sources.

In his response, the minister recognises the need to make health and care data easier to navigate and access, and that My NHS can play a significant role in pulling it together from a range of sources.

“I welcome the NIB’s commitment to support and facilitate the provision of open data and would in particular note NHS England’s data directory project which aims to help us demonstrate the benefits of providing open health data,” he says.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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