Key points

  • Analysis has a crucial role to play in shaping care for individual patients as well as across organisations and health systems. It also has a role in helping to improve quality and safety by identifying areas for improvement and monitoring service delivery. 
  • There is a widely acknowledged problem that health services often cannot access the right level of skilled analysts. This can lead to decisions being made on based on limited or inappropriate evidence.
  • In this paper, Martin Bardsley explores issues around both supply and demand that need to be addressed to ensure good quality analysis is able to improve care.

A skilled workforce that is able to manipulate, analyse and interpret data is essential for a modern health care system. However, there is a widely acknowledged problem that health services often cannot access the right level of skilled analysts.

While this is partly a question of the number of analysts, it is also a problem that the health service is not making best use of the analysts it does have.

This paper is based on a series of discussions and interviews with analysts, academics, clinicians and managers. It is intended to outline the nature of the problems caused by limited analytical capability in health services in the UK and also looks at some different ways that these issues can be addressed.

Further reading

Analysis

Untapped potential: Investing in health and care data analytics

May 2019

More investment is needed in skilled analysts to unlock the full potential of NHS data to benefit...

Article

Improvement Analytics Unit - FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Improvement Analytics Unit (IAU).

You might also like...

Chart

Do all care home residents face an equal risk of dying from COVID-19?

Care homes have been on the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak, but why have some areas of the...

Press release

Care homes in London and the North worse hit by COVID-19 than other areas of England

New Health Foundation analysis shows extent of regional variations in care home deaths.

Chart

How is COVID-19 changing the use of emergency care by region?

Recent NHS England data show that A&E visits in April 2020 were the lowest since records began. This...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more