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Establishing an NHS-R community to exploit the power of R for the NHS Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Academy)

About 2 mins to read
  • Run by the Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Academy, in partnership with the University of Bradford, NHS Improvement, NHS Wales, the Association of Professional Healthcare Analysts and The Strategy Unit.
  • Aimed to kick-start the use of the ‘R’ statistical and graphics programming language in the NHS in order to improve data analysis and develop shared solutions.
  • Trained NHS analysts to use R and developed an ‘NHS-R Community’ website to embed R into the NHS.
  • Delivered between February 2018 and April 2019.

This project aimed to kick-start the use of ‘R’ – a programming language and free software environment for statistical computing and graphics – in the NHS, building on an existing collaboration between the Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Academy, the Association of Professional Healthcare Analysts and the University of Bradford, and extending it to include NHS Improvement and NHS Wales.

NHS analysts were taught how to apply R in their day jobs via four three-day workshops, held in Leeds and Wales, covering reporting hospital mortality statistics, predicting urgent demand for hospital care and evaluating interventions.

Participant feedback revealed that even those with little formal training could pick up complex tasks using R, with the support of online materials and the 24/7 R Community.

An NHS-R conference stimulated further interest around R in public health and analysts are increasingly referring to the resources and specialist panel-approved blogs on the NHS-R Community website. There has also been interest from other public sector organisations such as council services and Public Health England. 

There are plans to continue the learning, application and exploitation of R within the NHS and discussions are underway for a strategic alliance with the Association of Professional Healthcare Analysts to help address the ongoing need to engage and ensure reach for the NHS-R Community.

This project received follow-on funding from the Health Foundation to further promote the use of R in the NHS and develop ‘solutions’ – packages of training that will help the NHS take advantage of the benefits of R.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Professor Mohammed Amin Mohammed, University of Bradford, Academic Director, Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network Improvement Academy.

About this programme

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