NHS England Captures Transparent and Actionable data in Health

Tim Kelsey and Geraint Lewis of NHS England gave a Double Keynote at Health 2.0 Europe this November on the changing role of big data in England’s health care system. Tim Kelsey led the keynote in an impassioned call to action for the entrepreneurs in health care technology to make data transparent and easy for patients to engage with.

Kelsey framed his keynote with his experience reporting on chemical weapons in Northern Iraq, remembering how the drawings created by the children in the area served as accurate data on the conditions of the people, and how the images publication gained a level of transparency that inspired the United Nations to respond. Years later, at Health 2.0 Europe, Kelsey questioned why the same transparency he brought to war conditions, had not be experienced in England’s health care system. He articulated that, “The voice of the oppressed is only properly heard through the use of transparency…Now in health care, that voice is the patient voice.”

Kelsey’s keynote transitioned to focus on England’s health care, expressing that the availability and accessibility of data will improve the quality of care for patients but will also be the key to sustainability of UK’s health services, an necessity as England faces a 30 billion Pound funding gap over the next 5 years. As he concluded, Kelsey spoke to his work at NHS England to take health data and turn it into tools and services to engage people to the maximum degree possible. In sharing the spotlight, Kelsey gave Geraint the floor to demo Care.Data, a new program for enhanced health care engagement in England.

In order to first explain the possibilities of Care.Data, Geraint first detailed HES (Hospital Episode Statistics), a database of every inpatient episode in England’s hospitals from 1989 onwards. While this 50 million-large database seems to have lots of actionable data, Lewis pointed out that unfortunately, data in HES is incomplete, difficult for patients to access, restricted to hospital care, and lacks information about social care. Facing these database limitations, NHS England developed CES (Care Episode Statistics) which builds off of the framework of HES while including a micro-timeline of what happened during each hospital stay, what prescriptions were ordered in-hospital, and all care given outside of the hospital (i.e. community care clinics, therapy, etc.). This information will then be stored in the Health and Social Care Information Centre, where different organizations and individuals will be able to access it and engage it in new and helpful ways. The image below shows how different organizations (Think tanks, Universities, Hospitals, NHS commissioners & Providers, Public health Organizations, NGO’s) and the patients themselves will be able to engage different types of information. ph. 2 for THCB

With a more data rich health information center, NHS England hopes to empower the nation to engage health disparities, investigate trends, question the current delivery method, and improve health conditions. Together Kelsey and Lewis demonstrated at Health 2.0 Europe where the future of England’s health information technology is headed, and how entrepreneurs and patients can become involved and empowered. You can access the full video of Kelsey and Lewis’ Keynote here.

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