The future of data, insights and statistics

Summary

An overview of our major programmes of work to transform our existing data services into a system that will make things easier for our stakeholders, improve data quality, and speed up the data cycle. This will increase clinical benefits and value to the health and care system.

The work we do has evolved over 30 years. It has developed into a complex range of standards, submission portals, data collections and ways of dissemination. An even more complex system supports how providers collect data, and how it is used to improve health and care.

We have begun major programmes of work to transform our existing data services into a system that will make things easier for our stakeholders, improve data quality, and speed up the data cycle. This will increase clinical benefits and value to the health and care system.

You can read more about this work on our Data outcomes for research and oversight page, part of our response to Personalised health and care 2020.

We plan to merge existing data sets into a single data architecture. This will include reusable modules, small groups of data rather than large data sets, improving efficiency and flexibility. As a patient is treated, information about their care will flow from the organisation that is providing the care, onto a single Data Services Platform (DSP). This will make data available more quickly, as well as making it easier for care providers to submit data.

DSP will improve both access to data and data security by providing a Data Access Environment (DAE), a web-based portal giving secure access to users with the right permissions, and the ability to view anonymised patient data. This will create the platform for a learning health and care system.

We are working on these improvements now and the new system will be fully functional by 2020. It will automate, simplify, speed up and improve data use in health and care services, and reduce the cost and burden.

Data architecture

Across the whole health and care system, there are thousands of data set flows, with some duplication. We don’t always make maximum use of the data that we collect. To link data sets is time consuming and resource intensive.

Our Data Architecture Programme replaces this approach with a comprehensive and extendable modular data architecture. Existing data sets will be broken down into modules that contain a small group of fields describing a characteristic or patient level care event. This will enable sharing of health and care information as patients move between different parts of the NHS and social care.

Modules that are common across data sets will be combined to reduce duplication. Modules can then be linked to make existing data collections available, or to create new ones to answer a research question or inform a policy or management decision.

Our new, modular, data architecture will improve health and care by:

  • reducing the time it takes organisations to submit data, by collecting data once to be reused many times, freeing up resources for frontline services
  • making it easier, quicker and more cost-effective to collect and link data, improving efficiency
  • creating faster and higher quality flows of data, which will make innovative analysis and interpretation possible
  • making it easier to answer new questions by adding modules or combining them in new ways rather than creating whole new collections

Better, faster and more flexible data has great potential to improve research, policy making, commissioning and management decisions.

Data architecture - data flowing from care events to support multiple uses:

Information architecture of DIS

Further information