Transformation Directorate

Improving health and care services for everyone

How does data support planning and research?

Data helps us to plan the right local services and protect those in communities that are most vulnerable. Data analysis helps us to understand patterns of health and disease and how well different health and care services are responding to the needs of their patients.

It can be used to:

  • improve public health, for example by identifying and supporting those more likely to suffer from asthma or diabetes before they get very ill or improving stopping smoking services
  • monitor the quality and safety of services, such as the safety record of different surgical teams
  • design and plan new services such as a new major trauma centre or a one-stop service for bowel cancer or helping those who struggle to access services for a variety of reasons to get what they need within their local community
  • pin-point areas of both good and bad practice that the rest of the NHS can learn from

That’s why our strategy sets out to:

  • ensure the rules, guidance and law allow data to be shared for the effective functioning of the system
  • give leaders up-to-date data to make decisions and help the health and care system run at its best - whether they are local leaders who need to plan, commission and improve their services to best suit the needs of the populations they serve or national leaders, who need an accurate view of the health and care system to develop better policy and guidance
  • support new partnerships that can coordinate services across local organisations and plan in a way that improves population health, reduces inequalities between different groups and shifts the health system into a service focused on wellness as well as illness
  • build analytical and data science capability to spot trends in health and social care data to help decision-makers analyse the effectiveness of previous actions that have been taken, or what challenges and opportunities the system faces
  • ensure that the data and technology architecture underpinning the health and care system work easily together to make better use of data, no matter where it is held
  • implement Secure Data Environments as the default way to access NHS health and social care data for research and analysis

Case studies and testimonials