Variations in Patient Data Capabilities in ICSs According to Report

Integrated care systems are displaying significant differences in how effectively they use patient data, according to a new report.

Understanding Patient Data, in partnership with the NHS Confederation and its ICS Network, has released a report examining data utilisation within ICSs.

White Tail Consulting conducted interviews with 44 participants from 11 ICSs across England to gather insights into current data use, identifying relevant barriers and facilitators.

The findings reveal that some ICSs have extensive analytical datasets from various sources, including primary, acute, community, and mental health NHS providers, as well as local authority social care. In contrast, other ICSs have less developed datasets, leading to inconsistent access to data-driven care models for patients.

Participants also highlighted challenges such as balancing operational reporting

Participants also highlighted challenges such as balancing operational reporting with strategic data analytics, fostering an organisational culture supportive of data skills, and issues with staff recruitment and retention.

Despite these challenges, there is a strong desire for collaboration among systems and with national data leaders and policymakers to drive improvements, according to Understanding Patient Data. Numerous best practice examples across the country suggest potential for peer learning and collaboration.

The report offers several recommendations

The report offers several recommendations, including that policymakers should help ICSs engage with patients and the public regarding data use.

Nicola Hamilton, head of Understanding Patient Data, said: “Integrated care systems are important bodies with an under-recognised role when it comes to the use of health data. “By drawing out the detail of what some of them are doing, their aspirations, and challenges, we hope to support them to work together to use health data in ways that enable them to fulfil their purposes as well as meet citizens’ expectations.”

This report follows the establishment of ICSs as statutory entities under the Health and Care Act two years ago and aligns with ongoing efforts to implement a new Federated Data Platform across health and care organisations in England.

Understanding Patient Data provides insights on patient data usage to support policymakers and is funded by Wellcome, the Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health and Care Research, and NHS England.