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NHS England sets up health analytics network

04/10/16

Chief data officer says network will provide support for vanguard sites developing new care models

England’s NHS is to get professional networks for population health analytics and information governance as part of the effort to make more use of data in reforming care.

Geraint LewisChief data officer Geraint Lewis has put out a call for people to join the networks as part of the Care Model Design workstream and to support the vanguard sites for new models.

He said the analytics network will have a three pronged focus:

  • Technical, covering issues such as what data flows are needed and the most appropriate types of storage and access.
  • Analytical, dealing with which analyses to pursue and how to use the insights to improve care.
  • Cultural, focused on using data and analytics ethically and how to become a more intelligent customer of analytical services.

“Vanguards will be able to use the (analytics network) to seek rapid peer review of their plans, to test and refine different hypotheses, and to become a more intelligent customer of data and analytics services,” Lewis said:

“We hope in time it will attract a broad mix of people from each of the different types of vanguard, as well as experts in the field of data and data science, whether from academia, the private, voluntary or public sectors.”

Triple aim

He said the work will contribute to NHS England’s effort to meet its triple aim of improving the health and wellbeing of local communities, providing patients with a better care experience, and doing so at a lower per capita cost.

This requires a better understanding of the population’s health needs and the quality and efficiency of care, before identifying where there could be improvements. Lewis said this could require skills in areas such as predictive modelling, population health analytics and actuarial analysis.

He also pointed towards investment in new resources such as patient level population datasets and capacity command centres, and to the potential of two types of dataset: one for planning covering health needs and care utilisation; and an operational set to track the quality of care delivered.

The vanguard sites have been set up to develop new care models in three areas: integrated primary and acute care systems; enhanced health in care homes; and in multispeciality community providers. Lewis said they want to make more use of data and have asked for additional support – which has prompted the creation of the networks.

Image from NHS England, Open Government Licence v3.0

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