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NHS England Hospital Data and Datasets Consultation – Aridhia’s Angle

During the summer months our Clinical, Lifescience & Strategy group has been digesting and reflecting on NHS England’s paper launched in July, NHS Hospital Data and Datasets: A Consultation. NHS England launched this consultation to gather insight and information from a broad spectrum of stakeholders in order to better understand what the requirements are for datasets that they curate.

The document opens with an acknowledgement that there are likely to be significant advantages to improving the extraction of information from hospitals’ data systems, including improvements to patient safety and the reduction of inequalities in patient care.

‘NHS England has embarked on an unprecedented programme to increase the transparency of information available about the NHS. Our intention is to expose any unwarranted variations in the care being delivered across the country, in terms of its safety, patient experience, effectiveness, equity and efficiency… So what data sets do citizens and commissioners require in order to know whether a hospital is providing safe, efficient, and equitable care? Which specific data items should the Health and Social Care Information Centre extract from hospitals’ electronic systems and make available to citizens, providers, regulators, and researchers.’

NHS Hospital Data and Datasets: A Consultation (PDF)

Aridhia has spent quite some time considering and collating our responses to the consultation from a variety of healthcare professionals within the Aridhia multidisciplinary team, including clinicians, data scientists, coding specialists and dataset administrators. Our team’s clinical domain knowledge and client engagements across the UK give us deep insights into the issues that the NHS faces with regards to using technology and data to facilitate decision making and improve patient outcomes. The following areas were identified by the group as key issues to be addressed by NHS England in order to improve standards and transparency:

  • Electronic collection of data in many secondary care trusts is composed of volumes of digital free text, e.g. it is not read coded like in most GP practices. Text mining technology can possibly release this data to electronic coding.
  • The integration of patient safety alerts to any system at its inception should be considered: an example is the lack of an appointment in fracture clinic if someone is discharged from A&E post-fracture. It is our belief that this should be integrated at source.
  • The need to develop data consistency when collating data from a variety of sources (Trusts), and to provide and/or develop reporting standards.
  • Improve staff education and awareness of the importance of quality data capture, as well as increase the available time for this data care.

We also highlighted areas where we had experienced good practice in data collection and integration, in particular the Scottish Care Information – Diabetes Collaboration (SCI-DC) and our own DECIPHER Health cancer informatics and analytics project.

We look forward to the report from the consultation, outputs from which are due at the end of the year, and we’re hoping to see some of our reflections and opinions included.