How data can help the NHS save lives
Data isn't oil, its sand. Ideas building on the recent policy paper Data Saves Lives
Data isn’t oil, its sand
That insight from Tim O’Reilly is fundamental to grasping the opportunity presented by ever increasing volumes of health data. Drilling in the data sands demands a combination of frameworks and standard with high levels of innovation. The role of the NHS and Government should be to provide the platform on which this innovation can thrive.
It was great to see a proper policy paper on health data issued last week. I love the title, Data Saves Lives. Its one reason I believe in Triscribe. The biggest opportunity to improve health and quality of life in the developed world is better use of data and digital tools.
Triscribe fits squarely in point 2 of the policy paper.
Our vision: staff will have easy access to the right information to provide the best possible care.
A quick reminder about our survey, Triscribe saving you time. We want to hear how Triscribe can make your life, or the lives of others in your team, easier by using data to save you time?
Ideas for data innovation in health
Like any policy paper, the document is full of good intentions but light on specifics. Fair enough. At Triscribe, our job is to be doers, not thinkers. We are already on the road and moving. How can we get involved and help make this vision a reality?
Based on what we see when we look at legacy NHS hospital data and on feedback from our users, here are a few ideas:
Inflation and economic pressures are here to stay. Staffing levels will not recover any time soon. How can we use data to help hard pressed frontline staff? Do more with less is the management speak answer. Use digital to remove some of the burden of data entry, organisation, and retrieval. Help nurses, pharmacists and doctors do more of what they love, taking care of patients.
The last thing the NHS needs is more targets. Using data to save lives needs an open mind, not a rigid definition of standards, goals, and objectives. We have several ideas for small innovative projects. Easy to put in place pilots that prove the benefits. Get in touch if you would like to know more.
Linkage will depend on using NHS IDs and related patient data with proper regard for privacy and security. A centralised, government maintained database is not the best way to approach this. Let’s have a distributed secure ID on the Estonian model. That would allow Triscribe and other innovators from private, public and third sectors to build on top.
International standards for key clinical elements will be vital - dm+d, SNOMED CT, ICD-10 and so on. Exchanging and reconciling data using these standards as a reference point sounds like a dull problem of technical plumbing. It is, but it is also the essential infrastructure to make the vision a reality. Triscribe would love to work in this area.
It looks like there is money to support the policy ambition. I lose track of all the various funding announcements and projects. No doubt there is double counting and other tricks to generate headlines involved. Even numbers in billions are little more than rounding errors for an organisation with spending of £136 Billion in the last financial year. Nonetheless, there is an appetite to invest real money in digital for the NHS.
Anything we can do, we can afford - its not about the money
That is good news. But money is not the problem. In fact, for the challenges facing the NHS, money doesn’t really matter.
“Anything we can actually do, we can afford.” John Maynard Keynes, The Listener 2 April 1942
The real problem is the limited to waht “we can actally do” We don’t have enough people. Demographic reality. The number of people who need healthcare and people who can deliver it is out of balance. It will get worse here and in every country in the developed world.
Digital is an opportunity to help the people we have achieve more with less friction and hassle. Its not the whole answer, but it has to be part of the solution.
Money cannot unlock that opportunity.
We need change. Better tools and people who have the working environment, skills and desire to use them.
Change is bloody hard. We need to try lots of different approaches. Innovation should be one. The NHS was born out of innovation and has been the greatest platform for innovation ever created in the UK.
The good news is that a tiny amount of money given to innovators can make an enormous difference. £100 million given to people with passion and half-formed ideas would be enough.
Triscribe is a handful of those people. We have a few ideas. If you are interested in working with us to deliver real change, we would love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org