Using Data to Facilitate Better Research and Improve Patient Care
There is a wealth of valuable information within the healthcare service that has the potential to not only change the way medical professionals diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions, but also evaluate the effectiveness of the health system as a whole. The NHS Long Term Plan and NHS Five Year Forward View acknowledge the need to facilitate the collection, aggregation and analysis of data, and there is an increasing demand for both better integration of health and social care services, and collaborative working between the NHS, Academia and service providers – like Wellbeing – to the benefit of the patient.
The evidence for data-driven decision making is there – population statistics can be used to identify upward trends in infectious and communicable diseases, stop the spread of serious illnesses or become the catalyst for large-scale vaccine programmes to prevent disease outbreaks such as Meningitis.
Unfortunately data is often siloed in the primary care system, which can impact research capabilities within the healthcare sector. Apollo from Wellbeing Software addresses this issue by creating an information pathway that enables data to be shared for analysis and research initiatives, from a localised to a national level; as in the case of the University of Surrey.
Best Practice with University of Surrey
The University of Surrey (Surrey) hosts the secure data and analytics hub for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC), www.rcgp.org.uk/rsc. This secure hub creates reports for information, analysis and interpretation concerning the onset, patterns, prevalence and trends of morbidity in primary care.
The RCGP RSC collects and monitors data, and its most important activity is the surveillance of influenza and the monitoring of vaccine effectiveness on behalf of Public Health England. While there is a wealth of patient information available for analysis across primary care, the challenge was how to extract that data from different GP systems in a logical way. Apollo is being used to provide healthcare data management services to Surrey in support of the RCGP RSC’s monitoring of national respiratory and communicable diseases.
The Apollo tool securely manages data extracted from GP systems; anonymises the data at source, encrypts it and then transfers it to secure servers held at the RCGP RSC secure data and analytics hub at Surrey. The data, which is used as an indication of what to expect in the flu season, is currently derived from over 200 practices covering a population of over two million patients.
As a result of the continued success of the collaboration between Surrey, the RCGP and Wellbeing Software, higher quality pseudonymised data is being provided to Public Health England for national surveillance, vaccine effectiveness and other programmes to support public health.
According to Simon de Lusignan, University of Surrey Professor of Primary Care & Clinical Informatics and RSC Medical Director, the data that Apollo manages enables them to provide vital information for major healthcare related research across England. Learn more about clinic management software.
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