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There is a wealth of data in the NHS that could be used to improve the delivery of health care. However, the lack of a common, easy-to-use software platform is a barrier to the open and transparent sharing of useful data analysis techniques across the NHS. This is where R comes in.

‘R’ is a programming language and free software environment for statistical computing and graphics, which benefits from a worldwide R Community that freely shares learning and resources. Although widely employed in academia and large corporations, R is less prominent in the NHS.

The development of an NHS-R Community is promoting the use of R in the NHS in order to improve data analysis and develop shared solutions.

The NHS-R Academy supports NHS analysts in learning how to apply R in their day jobs via workshops, webinars, blogs, podcasts and the annual NHS-R Conference, and a vibrant, friendly and helpful community on the slack channel.

The NHS-R Community, together with NHSx, provides funding for ‘solutions’. Solutions are R packages of training that will help the NHS to take advantage of the huge benefits of R. Current solutions include:

  • NHSRPlotthedots – tools for drawing statistical process control charts to support an NHSE/I ‘Making Data Count’ campaign.
  • NHSDataDictionaRy – offers web scraping of NHS data dictionary lookups.
  • phsmethods – to assist public health analysts with common analytical tasks.

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