A Blueprint for the Open Data Era in Health and Social Care

Today at the Health Datapalooza in Washington DC, NHS England and The GovLab announced the release of a blueprint – The Open Data Era in Health and Social Care – to accelerate the use of open data in healthcare settings.  Emma Doyle, the Head of Open Data and Transparency for NHS England, presented the plan as part of the NHS England panel moderated by the National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey. Speaking about the future of NHS England’s data program, Kelsey has said, “There’s an urgent need for the NHS to use better information and evidence to guide decision-making and investment.  We know with scientific and medical research, the rate of discovery is accelerated by better access to data.

The blueprint, jointly created by The GovLab and NHS England, suggests ways to enable a conversation about how the health and care system can maximize the impact of sharing open data. The potential for open data has been widely recognized. The blueprint identifies the following areas where open data can have improve health and social care:

  • Holding healthcare organizations and providers accountable for treatment outcomes.
  • Enabling patients to make informed choices from among the healthcare options available to them.
  • Improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of delivering healthcare.
  • Improving treatment outcomes.
  • Educating patients and their families and make healthcare 
institutions more responsive.
  • Fueling new healthcare companies and innovation.

Despite the widespread recognition of the benefits of open data, there is an urgent need for more actionable evidence to help guide investments and priorities going forward.

Stefaan Verhulst, Co-founder and Chief Research and Development Officer of the GovLab, has stated, “The blueprint lays out a detailed plan to start a conversation about how to gather the evidence needed to understand and assess the shape and size of the impact of open health data. It is important to pay a comparable level of attention to an analysis of open data’s potential benefits, as well as potential risks.”

To determine the impact of open data on the above objectives, the blueprint offers a model to help practitioners and researchers understand the impact of NHS England data programs throughout the process of conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation.

Download the full report here.

View the press release and contact information to learn more about the report.

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