Public Services > Healthcare

Kelsey steps up NHS data drive

David Bicknell Published 17 September 2014

NHS England director hints at 'carrot and stick' plan to drive hospital action on data infrastructure, indicates unhappiness at EU personal data, and says CCGs supporting will be named soon


NHS England's National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey, has stepped up his campaign to transform the structure and use of data in the NHS.

Speaking at a health information 'summit' organised by the Reform pressure group, Kelsey indicated his unhappiness with EU legislation which threatens to inhibit the use of personal data. He also said he plans to adopt both a 'carrot and stick' approach to encourage greater hospital buy-in to data infrastructure, suggesting that teaching accreditation could be removed from hospitals if they fail to meet basic data infrastructure requirements.

Kelsey explained that following the public discussion that has taken place over the planned programme that will extract data sets from different organisations, the project "is now in a much stronger place than it was earlier this year." He added that the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that are due to start collecting data would be named shortly.

Speaking at the event, which also served as the launch of an EMC-backed report, "Sustaining Universal Healthcare in the UK: making better use of information", Phoebe Robinson, head of project development at Imperial College Health Partners said there is a need to build analytical capability to deliver insight and intelligence to the NHS, and not just data.

The event also heard from Jane Ramsey, chair of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who discussed the trust's e-Hospital which is due to go live on 25th October.

The report, written by Nick Bosanquet, professor of health policy at Imperial College and Ellie Evans from Volterra Partners, recommended that the NHS must speed up the accessibility of data and warned that the negative attention surrounding should not act as a negative influence on the sharing of patient data between and within NHS institutions.

It added that "is due to be launched in autumn 2014 and it is important that its benefits are effectively communicated to patients and GPS and that concerns are appropriately addressed."

It also concluded that:

- There must be investment in appropriate skills in the health workforce, adding that data analytics will change the nature of research and it is important that there are enough people with skills to maximise the benefits

- While data analytics must begin from local collaboration, there must be a fundamental change in the culture of the Department of Health (DH) if the 'wellness agenda' is to be achieved. The real opportunity for step change will come through data analytics facilitating both prevention and personalised care. "The NHS must aim higher than simply integrated health records", it said.

- The data revolution must begin with collaboration at a local level, with the government supporting the development of local informatics hubs


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