We have detected that you are using Internet Explorer to visit this website. Internet Explorer is now being phased out by Microsoft. As a result, NHS Digital no longer supports any version of Internet Explorer for our web-based products, as it involves considerable extra effort and expense, which cannot be justified from public funds. Some features on this site will not work. You should use a modern browser such as Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. If you have difficulty installing or accessing a different browser, contact your IT support team.
Collecting data does not, by itself, improve anything. It needs to be part of a system. Figure 2 shows a data lifecycle (or value chain) model, based on work by Freidman et al (2017). NHS Digital has a role at several stages in the lifecycle, but does not bring about the change that ultimately improves health and care. The sections below outline NHS Digital’s role at each stage in the lifecycle.
Figure 2: Life cycle of data for secondary uses
The DARS team only supply sensitive patient-level data to organisations that look after it according to Information Governance (IG) requirements, and that use it to improve health and care services. Their aim is to prevent the inappropriate release of data, while making the data dissemination process as efficient and timely as possible.
The process is split into application, approval, access, audit and deletion. The IGARD reviews all novel, contentious or potentially repercussive applications for data.
Unlike with data disseminated openly by NHS Digital, it is sometimes possible to identify the impact that data released through DARS has had. Each application includes a benefits statement. This is a free text entry outlining the benefits that are likely to arise from the data dissemination. If the application is for a renewal or extension, then a yielded benefits statement is required. This is another free text entry outlining the benefits that have been realised following the initial dissemination. Last year, 422 applications contained a completed yielded benefits statement.
All successful applications are recorded in the DARS Register of Approved Data Releases, which is publicly available.