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Data is essential to measuring outcomes

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What are outcomes and why is linked data key to their measurement?

This was the challenge I gave to a panel of experts at a recent health technology conference in London. I asked them to think about this in the context of the Five Year Forward View and the idea to move from treating illness within a building to health within a population. For me, this means enabling health and wellbeing that is driven by analyses of total care costs and outcomes across population segments.

Rupert Dunbar-Rees, chief executives of Outcomes Based Healthcare, said outcomes were measures of the presence of health and the absence of illness and a way of making sure each different population segment within an area got the care they needed. He gave some examples of how one might measure an outcome; it could be helping someone return to work following orthopaedic surgery, or reorganising care pathways, so hospital admissions were reduced and care was delivered closer to home 

Also on the panel were two colleagues from the Vanguard site in Hertfordshire, David Hodson, head of information at East and North Hertfordshire CCG and Andrew Godfrey, who has an integrated care role accountable to both the CCG and the local authority. They identified five population groups where colleagues in Hertfordshire were focussing effort: care homes, learning difficulties, frail elderly, end of life care and respiratory medicine.

Andrew gave examples of the outcomes they are measuring.  For example, there is a large focus on falls prevention and an initiative to reduce the number of people being admitted from care homes into hospital through A&E.

Since 2012, health professionals in Hertfordshire have benefitted from a linked dataset including activity information from acute and community hospitals, primary care setting and mental health. Next month, they will add GP data. This allows them to follow patients along their treatment path in near real time, so care can be planned better and adverse outcomes prevented. They have driven data quality by using the data rather than trying to improve the data quality in isolation. This has been very successful with 95% of social care records having an NHS number, meaning patient outcomes can be analysed across care settings.

A common view emerged from the discussion that this level of insight, based on individuals, is an essential foundation, to not only making care safe and more effective, but also making it sustainable in the current challenging financial environment. In short, to change our models of care, we need to plan with our eyes open.

Hear more about how linked data can improve outcomes at MedeAnalytics’ presentation at The Kings Fund Annual Conference on 19 November.

Mark Davies, medical director, MedeAnalytics

Column sponsored and supplied by MedeAnalytics

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