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Protecting and improving public and population health
Population-level data provides a better understanding of local population health (health outcomes and their distribution) characteristics and their various causes. It includes risk factors and demographic change, which can improve health and social care, and public health provision, preventing disease and promoting health in general. Studies in epidemiology are included.
The yielded benefits statements sampled, reported significant impacts to population health at the local, regional and national level. It was the most cited impact within the Improved Health and Care Category. For example:
Figure 10 shows that as expected, academic and research organisations make a significant impact on research activities, but that they also support improvements to health and care and to policy and planning. By contrast, they make little impact on data capabilities or assessments and efficiencies. This might represent an opportunity for NHS Digital or funders to target these areas for further development.
Figure 11 suggests that commissioners support more work on assessments and efficiencies as well as policy and planning. Perhaps there is scope to help them have a more direct impact on health and care or to improve data capabilities within their areas.
Figure 12 shows that data analytics organisations, including commercial organisations, have a broad range of impacts, apart from in improving health and care. There may be lessons to learn from these organisations that would be transferable to others.
Figure 13 shows that trusts have a broad range of impacts when they do use data, but that total applications from trusts are low. There are likely to be capacity issues here, but a drive to help trusts make more use of data might deliver significant impact. Despite their proximity to patient care, trusts appear to be relatively weak at using data to improve health and care. This may suggest an area for improvement, for example, by increasing the timeliness and accessibility of our data.
Local authorities have a bipolar distribution of impacts, focusing mostly on improving health and care. Further work could focus on understanding how we could help them to increase impact in other areas.
Unsurprisingly, national policy making bodies had strength in supporting policy and planning, with little direct impact in other areas. There might be an opportunity to work with these organisations to identify how they could make broader impact using our data.