People with diabetes should receive annual care checks and should achieve a target for their blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure values; see the NICE Clinical Guidelines and Quality Standards.
As a result, Core NDA, NPID and NDFA all collect patient identifiable data. This data allows patient records to be linked across the diabetes audit programme and to other health care datasets, such as hospital episode statistics (HES), patient episode database for Wales (PEDW) and Office for National Statistics Mortality dataset.
The NDA does not collect patient names. The patient identifiable data we collect is:
- NHS number
- date of birth
Linking to other datasets decreases the burden on services of entering the data. Demographics such as ethnicity, diabetes type and postcode recorded in Core NDA can be used for patients registered in NDFA or NPID so it doesn’t need entering twice. Data linkage allows us to understand the types of complications people with diabetes can experience. These linkages help us to give a better picture of diabetes care whilst managing the burden on services for data collection.
NHS Digital has strict criteria to make sure patient data is kept safe. All data is held securely upon encrypted servers. Access to patient records is restricted to crucial personnel. Once the data is received the datasets are pseudonymised to protect patient identity. This means that:
- data items such as date of birth are converted to age, or year of birth
- postcodes are converted to lower layer super output areas (LSOA)
- NHS numbers are converted to a unique ID for that person
NHS Digital will only share patient identifiable data with another provider if they have a clear and approved legal basis to receive such data. For example, a research project that has Section 251 support, or consent from patients for us to share the data.