Understanding analytical capability in health care

Do we have more data than insight?

December 2016

Thumbnail

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

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

Article

Improvement Analytics Unit - FAQs

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

You might also like...

Working paper

A descriptive analysis of health care use by high cost, high need patients in England

This paper explores health care use by the top 5% of users of primary and secondary care services by cost.

Blog

Fixing the UK's broken social care system

The decisions we make about technology today will have implications for the entire social care system, says Lydia Nicholas, f...

Blog

Artificial intelligence in the NHS: getting the priorities right

The NHS’s new AI lab needs to focus on the needs of patients and the health system, argue Adam Steventon, Sarah Deeny, Josh K...

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