This project was funded between January 2018 and April 2019.

  • Run by the London Borough of Islington, in partnership with Islington Clinical Commissioning Group, North and East London (NEL) Commissioning Support Unit, and the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLARHC) North Thames.
  • Aimed to improve the use of information in the health care system and local government in Islington to assess patterns in the social determinants of health.
  • Identified optimal data flows and processes to link health care data and council data at a household level.

The social determinants of health (such as environment, housing, education, nutrition and wealth) substantially impact health status, outcomes and service use.

In order to better prioritise services and interventions, local government data need to be linked to NHS data. This project set out to perform linkage analysis on these types of data in Islington to assess patterns in the social determinants of health, and help identify unmet needs and inequalities.

The aim was to do this using encrypted (pseudonymised) unique property reference numbers, which are collected on both NHS and local government datasets for every address in Great Britain, so that analytics on health care could be conducted at a household level.

The project team identified optimal data flows and processes to link health care data and council data, which resulted in the successful development of a proposed data flow model and linkage method, as well as a council data specification.

However, they faced a major challenge when their complex Data Access Request Services (DARS) application (for health data from hospitals, mental health and community services) was rejected. They will continue to pursue this with NHS Digital.  

The team will look to continue work on the local linkage of council and health care data using property data only, subject to information governance. They plan to deliver analysis at household level and increase understanding of the interaction between individual health status and health system utilisation in relation to property factors (for example, how living in a damp house impacts a child’s health).

They are also looking at how household-level analysis might be embedded within North London’s population health management system, Cerner’s HealtheIntent, to support the delivery of direct care by frontline health and care professionals.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Dr Sarah Dougan, Chief Analytical Officer, London Borough of Islington.

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