Last Friday the DH published further plans for the development of the NHS commissioning board. The development of a centralised board to oversee all NHS commissioning should be used as an opportunity to centralise information gathering and evidence. The plan is for this work to be done on behalf of the NHS Commissioning Board by the NHS Information Centre.
Whilst we now have good IT systems and information collection in general practice, and from next year a new GP extraction service will be able to draw data out from GP systems to use centrally, data collection in the hospital setting is far less standardised .
Whilst there is a lot of data available, from Patient Administration Systems, and in the form of hospital episode statistics, these do not always provide the information that we might require to make commissioning decisions, track uptake of new technologies and new ways of working, and evaluate outcomes.
We need to develop ways to make the best use of the data we have currently available as well as determine what extra data will be needed to improve efficiency and outcomes.
A roundtable discussion on 11th July, organised by 2020health to discuss these questions, produced two key observations:
- Data collection needs to be integrated into all medical practice, collected on an ongoing basis at point of care.
- Data collection needs to be coordinated and aligned across the country by the development of data standards which all providers of healthcare must adhere to.