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The Networked Data Lab A collaborative network of analytical teams across the UK working together using linked datasets on key issues facing health and care services today

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  • The Networked Data Lab provides national and local health system leaders with insights from data to take action in order to improve the UK’s health and care.   
  • We work closely with our five partners across the UK who are embedded within their local health and care systems and have detailed knowledge of both their local health and care environments and their linked data sets.

The Networked Data Lab (NDL) is a pioneering collaborative network of analysts who use linked data, open analytics, and public and patient involvement to tackle the most pressing challenges in health and social care.

We work closely with our five partners across the UK:

  • The Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science (ACHDS) which includes NHS Grampian and the University of Aberdeen 
  • Public Health Wales, Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW), Swansea University (SAIL Databank) and Social Care Wales (SCW)
  • North West London Networked Data Lab: a collaboration between Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP), Imperial College London (ICL) and North West London Integrated Care System  
  • Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board
  • NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (Leeds Place).

Through a collaborative process with partners, along with public and patient engagement, the Networked Data Lab (NDL) focuses on a local priority for analysis.

A federated approach to analytics allows us to conduct analyses on datasets held by different NDL partners and to combine these insights without requiring data to be shared and held in a central location. We are able to conduct rapid and novel analyses that cannot be done at a national level because of a lack of available linked data. Through our partners, we are able to build a picture nationally. 

Topic 1: COVID-19 and the clinically extremely vulnerable population

During the COVID-19 pandemic, NDL partners highlighted clinically extremely vulnerable people as a priority group in their areas, so our first topic analysed the impact of the pandemic on those shielding.

Topic 2: Children and young people’s mental health

Children and young people's mental health emerged as a growing priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NDL partners used local data to draw out trends and insights for local and national policy makers.

Topic 3: Unpaid carers

There is limited information regarding unpaid carers in the UK. The NDL’s work on this topic seeks to identify unpaid carers across England and Wales, their characteristics, where they access support and the type of support they receive. This long chart is the first of two publications we are producing on this area. The second is due to be published in autumn 2023.

More about the Networked Data Lab

In April 2023 we began the second phase of the Networked Data Lab programme, which will run until spring 2026.

We are currently looking at Intermediate care, which is short-term support provided to individuals to minimize the amount of medical or social care they need after a period of illness or a stay in hospital.

NDL resources and tools

As a network, we aim to work as openly and collaboratively as possible. For all our projects, we share reusable code, methodology and other technical resources for free on Github.

We also write blogs on medium sharing key learnings:

Patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) is also a key aspect of the network, and is embedded throughout each project lifecycle.

Here is some information about our PPIE journey and helpful resources.

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