Key points

  • The NHS generates a huge amount of data. Making better use of this growing mountain of information has the potential to improve care and how services are run.
  • Yet the NHS is failing to make the most of its data because there aren’t enough people with the right analytical skills to make sense of the information that is being collected.
  • More investment is needed in skilled analysts to unlock the full potential of NHS data to benefit patients.

Read the report summary

The Health Foundation’s new report, Untapped potential: Investing in health and care data analytics, highlights nine key reasons why there should be more investment in analytical capability.

  • Clinicians can use the insights generated by skilled analysts to improve diagnosis and disease management.
  • National and local NHS leaders can evaluate innovations and new models of care to find out if expected changes and benefits were realised.
  • Board members of local NHS organisations and systems can use analysis to inform changes to service delivery in complex organisations and care systems.
  • Local NHS leaders can improve the way they manage, monitor and improve care quality day-to-day.
  • Senior NHS decision makers can better measure and evaluate improvements and respond effectively to national incentives and regulation.
  • Managers can make complex decisions about allocating limited resources and setting priorities for care.
  • Local NHS leaders will gain a better understanding of how patients flow through the system.
  • New digital tools can be developed and new data interpreted so clinicians and managers can better collaborate and use their insights to improve care.
  • Patients and the public will be able to better use and understand health care data.

Action and investment is needed across the system so the NHS has the right people with the right tools to interpret and create value from its data. This could result in an NHS that can make faster progress on improving outcomes for patients. View our recommended actions

Further reading

Thought paper

Understanding analytical capability in health care

December 2016

This paper explores issues around both supply and demand that need to be addressed to ensure good...

Improvement project

Building an analytical framework around the Electronic Frailty Index to transform care for people living with frailty

This project used a whole-system analytical framework to identify all frail patients in Midlothian,...

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