Sam Elliott, CEO of Insource Limited explains the importance of a complete and accurate data foundation if the Data Saves Lives strategy is ever to fully function.

The new Data Saves Lives strategy is meant to drive digital transformation and data sharing across health and care. With a stated aim of improving public trust in the use of that data, it plans to give health and care professionals the information they need to provide the best possible care.

The NHS, as we know, is a very complex organisation with a diverse IT landscape. It has some exceptional systems for a multitude of specialist needs, and some obvious gaps in provision – especially in the care arena. Now while the EPR Convergence and Levelling Up agendas aim to plug these gaps; we must remember that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’. We mustn’t throw away invaluable system expertise and data in the rush to standardise everything. The National Programme for IT (NPfIT) should have sounded a warning on this approach already.

Getting the complete data picture

To make informed care and business decisions we need the complete picture. A picture that includes data – not just from clinical systems – but also from the operational and reporting systems that underpin the intricate workings of the NHS. And whilst a federated data platform is vital, we must ensure that platform can link to, and incorporate, this data diversity.

With over 20 years’ experience, Insource captures all these detailed, granular patient pathway interactions and makes them available for system-wide care coordination and accurate reporting.

We already have thousands of meticulously tested NHS data feeds including A&E, finance, and elective pathway data from referral to treatment and beyond and are building more all the time. And we cover any sector, including acute, cancer, maternity and A&E, ambulance, community, mental health, and independent healthcare.

Our advanced technology handles these diverse data sources and disparate formats with ease and standardises and consolidates them into an accurate Unified Data Layer (UDL). This single version of the truth is then available for consistent data sharing and reliable collaborative care across the specialty, trust, Integrated Care System (ICS) or nationally.

Accurate, unified data for collaborative care

This immensely powerful UDL is fully validated and source-system independent. It can be used as the base for a wide range of local applications for pathway management, BI, analytics, and reporting. Our UDL also provides a near real-time automated data core for partner systems development and enables a fast, uninterrupted response to changing care demands – such as those shown during Covid – and those experienced when changing-out IT systems.

Our data management platform also underpins the Insource elective recovery suite of applications, including advanced waiting list management, automated capacity planning, patient journey optimisation, and cancer tracking. For instance, at Mid and South Essex ICS we created a single, system-wide waiting list across all specialties in a matter of weeks. This gives accurate visibility of the size and detail of the elective backlog and enables full care collaboration and optimal resource planning across the system.

Developing the right technical infrastructure

One of the core tenets of the Data Saves Lives strategy is to develop the right technical infrastructure. And whilst the big data providers do offer the processing power for today’s healthcare environments, it will only be useful if the local underlying data feeds are complete, consistent, and accurate. At Insource, no matter the volume or complexity, we aim to continue to make NHS operational data accessible, as a single version of the truth, despite the disparate data formats and legacy infrastructure.

Another core principle in the strategy is to encourage ‘working with partners to develop innovations that improve health and care’. Wearables, inputs to the NHS App and remote monitoring are making headlines here. But strides are happening equally in secondary care. This is where the strength of our NHS and its hugely experienced supplier community comes in. With the in-depth expertise of suppliers and the ‘application-independent’ data foundation that Insource brings, powerful collaborative solutions are already being developed to meet emerging needs.

Application-independent data management tools available now

It could be tempting to wait for a big central data platform procurement. But there is a risk of losing local choice or being locked into proprietary data formats and non-standard development languages.

Our application-independent data management tools are available now, today, based on accessible data and technology that is already standard across the NHS. Continued innovation is happening as we speak. The Insource data management platform is operational in over 55 trusts and health boards and is a proven out-of-the-box solution with fast time-to-value.

There is no need for lengthy customised projects and large consultancy expenditure to make it work. Insource’s data platform and applications are configurable to local requirements within weeks and deliver care improvements within months.

Contact Insource:

Website: www.insource.co.uk
Twitter: @Insource_Data
Linkedin: Insource Ltd