NHS Digital has announced plans to collect anonymised social care data to support research into the spread of Covid-19.
It has raised a Data Provision Notice to make this possible, and said the Social Care Data Collection for Pandemic Planning and Research will take the data on the Covid-19 status of care givers and receivers directly from IT systems.
This will be combined with information on location, type of care provision and key demographics, with the aim of identifying trends in the pandemic.
An estimated 30% of care providers have been recording status information as part of the workflow within their care management software, said NHS Digital. Information is also available from the NHS England Capacity Tracker and Care Quality Commission online reporting tool.
The data will only be shared to support the coronavirus response and the collection will run until the end of March 2022, although reviews will take place this September and every six months thereafter.
James Palmer, programme head for social care at NHS Digital, said: “This collection will provide controlled access to a range of existing data to support service planning, outcome monitoring and research during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It could save lives if there is a second wave of coronavirus by showing trends in social care at a national and local level. We have been working closely with colleagues across the sector and will be sharing data in a managed way initially but with a view to opening it up more widely in the future.”
The initiative has the support of the Care Software Providers Association. Its membership secretary Robin Wells said: “Many of our members digital care management systems collect this data on a real time basis, thereby providing a rich source of anonymised data which is essential to accurate planning and saving lives.”
Image from Muenocchio, public domain