What is being proposed?
In light of rapid digital advances triggered by the pandemic, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is developing a more sustainable and long-term data strategy. This strategy is designed to support the digital transformation needed to improve patient care across the health and care sectors.
The new strategy has several aims, including:
- Bringing people closer to their data
- Giving health and care professionals the data they need to provide the best possible care
- Supporting local and national decision makers with data
- Improving data for adult social care
- Empowering researchers with the data they need to develop life-saving treatments, models of care and insights
- Helping colleagues develop the right technical infrastructure
- Helping developers and innovators improve health and care
The proposals will give patients easy access to their test results, medication lists, procedures and care plans, whilst allowing the research and development communities safe data access, promoting rapid technological progress.
The objective is to improve the way in which NHS systems work together, by breaking down data barriers. This will mean staff spend less time collecting and looking for relevant information, allowing more time for clinical activity and to focus on patient needs.
A draft document has been published, ahead of engagement with the sector and the public during the summer.
What does this mean for healthcare analytics?
Information is key to generating sharper insights and accurately predicting behaviour, which leads to smarter, cost effective decision making. By promoting easier access to health and care data this policy supports those goals.
Ultimately, data is at the core of healthcare analytics. It can be used at all stages of a patient’s journey, improving care and operational management, treatment decisions and outcomes.
However, alongside this, understanding how data is used and giving the public control over their data is a clear priority. It is imperative to follow strong regulatory, data protection, data handling and cyber security processes.
This strategy has the potential to revolutionise healthcare, but it comes with some challenges, including:
- Cyber security – robust infrastructure that is safe and secure
- Interoperability – standardisation of data across different types of systems (innovative, standard or legacy) and sectors (healthcare, social care or public health)
- Governance – fast and strong regulated approval process to access and interact with data
- Terminology – consistent and clear definitions
- Cost – expense of upgrading and maintaining the data infrastructure
- Transition period – organisations are at different stages of their digital transformation
These challenges need to be addressed to ensure the full benefits of the strategy are realised.
What support can we provide?
Akeso & Co can support the implementation of the new DHSC data strategy by delivering innovative, data-driven insight-powered services that achieve a better standard of care. We build high-quality outputs which proactively guide our clients’ decision-making, all whilst safeguarding patient data.
We have already been developing projects at the leading edge of advanced Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in healthcare and research. This includes intelligent demand planning, clinical decision support, healthcare system productivity, and laboratory and stock management information systems.
The new data strategy and data sharing vision presents opportunities to create further benefits, including:
- Transforming the way data is used to make NHS supply chains more robust and resilient in the face of future uncertainties.
- Facilitating the transition from the current care-based philosophy to one that is more proactive and focused on long-term healthcare management.
- Empowering clients with recommendation systems for informed decision making, using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to quickly analyse Big Data.
Effectively using data has the power to significantly improve how Trusts operate and how they respond to their patients’ needs, ultimately helping to save lives.
This policy is another step along the road to a data rich health and social care system that can deliver faster and better outcomes for all stakeholders. But, as we have noted, there are challenges to navigate if Trusts are to achieve the strategy’s full potential.
If you would like Akeso & Co’s expert support to reshape your data and analytics systems and processes, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.