Patient data is at the heart of the NHS. You can’t see it, but it is essential to the way that we care for patients, plan and run services and for research, to develop new treatments and cures.
Caring for patients
Patient data is used millions of times each day by doctors, nurses and other health professionals to treat and care for patients. It’s used for everything from identifying illness, prescribing the right medicine, to providing emergency care.
Planning and running NHS services
NHS organisations need data to help them plan and run NHS services safely and effectively. This could include deciding where to provide new clinics and GP services or protecting public health, such as managing and monitoring the coronavirus pandemic.
When pooled together, data held in general practice patient records provides a detailed picture of the nation’s health. It offers the most reliable evidence on which to base decisions on healthcare planning and delivery.
It means services, staff and funding can be allocated to where they are most needed, enabling healthcare staff to provide the highest quality care to their patients.
Patient data collected from general practice is needed to support a wide variety of research and clinical trials, helping to develop cures and treatments for serious illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and examining the effectiveness of new medicines.
For example, GP data collected as part of the COVID-19 response is being used by the University of Oxford RECOVERY trial, which is looking to find ways to improve the treatment for people with COVID-19.
The use of patient data for research benefit us all as new or more effective treatments are developed and introduced. Together, we are all greater with data.