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South east London data update

Dean Holliday of the South East London Integrated Care System updates us on future plans to join up more health and social care information.

Dean Holiday headshotAs our integrated care system develops, we need safe, secure and appropriate access to data and insights which help us to further support the work being undertaken by Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and Local Care Partnerships, to identify care gaps and inequalities and find new ways to address population healthcare challenges.   

I have previously written to keep you up to date with the work we were undertaking to develop a data service, called Discovery, which we hoped would join up our health and care information and support these ambitions and our population health and transformation priorities. This blog provides a further update on the progress we have made and our future plans, which I hope is useful.  

Over the last few years South East London Integrated Care System (ICS) has been working with two other London ICSs to develop the Discovery Data Service, bring health and care information together and develop some of the tools that care professionals would need to support service improvement.  The work we have done so far has been really valuable and supported a number of important priorities including the COVID-19 Pandemic response, vaccine programmes and some early elective recovery, waiting list prioritisation and service improvement schemes e.g., hypertension, asthma, and diabetes services.  

However, it has not yet met all of our ambitions or delivered the sorts of capabilities that frontline professionals really need and as such we now have an exciting opportunity to learn and collaborate with partners right across London to do just that. We are therefore working together with all five London Integrated Care Systems, under the banner of the London Data Strategy, to create new London-wide data and information capabilities, to share skills and expertise and to support further research and innovation opportunities.   

This collaboration initially aims to bring a number of existing data services together over the next 12 months, including the Discovery Data Service, to form a new single London Data Service. This new service will join up more health and social care information from across London and better enable safe, secure and appropriate access to this data for a range of things, including service improvement, care and strategic planning and research and innovation. This service will be hosted by North East London Integrated Care Board (ICB), on behalf of the five London Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and access to data will be overseen by ICS Data Use and Access Groups, and a new Independent Information Access Group at London Level, both with significant public involvement.  

Not only will this mean that care professionals get more complete information about the people they care for, and their populations, but it will also bring the added benefit of sharing skills and expertise at scale across London, including benefiting from the developments and capabilities that others already have and sharing our own. Frontline teams, care professionals and our analytical staff will have more opportunities to get involved in the developments and contribute in new ways, this could include creating the tools that front line teams get to access over the next few years and in service change projects. 

In addition to the above this work will also see the creation of a new NHS Sub-National Secure Data Environment, which will be used to support secure and appropriate health and care research activities. This will be fed by anonymised information from the new data service and accessed by approved research teams, such as those at King’s College London. This support is seen as vitally important in our journey and provides extra capacity and expertise as well as potentially new insights into some of the challenges we face. This new secure data environment will be hosted by North West London Integrated Care Board, again on behalf of the five London Integrated Care Systems and is being supported by funding from NHS England.  

Although all of the above work is still in the early stages of design and development, we are keen to keep you updated as proactively as possible and to have your continued support, to share your information and to get involved where possible. It is important that we get this work right and that it benefits frontline services and the people we care for, which is the overall aim. It is also important to note that the work is being undertaken with oversight from information governance and care sector representative groups, including involvement from Healthwatch and members of the public. 

Dean Holliday is Head of Digital at the South East London ICS.   

Find out more about the South East London ICS