The Challenge of Data in Health & Social Care — Event Recap

Mandy Pope, OHT Cardiff Hub Lead, does a wonderful recap of our inaugural event in Wales. Enjoy reading!

Although competing with the Beyonce tour, we still had a good turnout for the first event to launch One HealthTech in Wales. The event, sponsored by NHS Wales Informatics Service was held on 6th June 2018 in Techniquest Welsh Science and Discovery Centre in Cardiff and focused on the challenge of data in health and care. We attracted speakers and an audience from around the public and private sector, as well as those who just had an interest in the topic being discussed.

Angela Maragna, Managing Director of One Healthtech, kicked off the event by introducing the aim and vision of One HealthTech – when and how it was formed and the increase of new hubs across the UK and further afield, with interest shown in Australia, Sweden and Spain and now the first hub for Wales.

Helen Thomas, Director of Information at NHS Wales Informatics Service spoke about the HS Wales Statement of Intent ‘Better use of health and care data for safe, effective care and efficient services’. The statement puts in place a digital solution to ensure health and care information is available as a resource for use at national and local levels, by consolidating and building on existing data flows and management.

After the initial speeches, Anne Marie Cunningham, Associate Medical Director of Primary Care in NWIS, facilitated a group discussion with panel members from the private and public sector.

Each panel member explained how they use data and how sharing it improves services.

Joanne Jones, Corporate Information Governance Lead at Caerphilly Council said that many people believe their data is already being shared across all public sectors anyway, which is not always the case.  Caerphilly Council shares their data with the police, social services and the health sector and Joanne believes by doing so improves the quality of the data.

Prof Kerry Hood, Director, Centre for Trials Research at Cardiff University, is a statistician and collects data to use as evidence for what works for the NHS and Social Services, for example with new systems or in therapies. She told the audience that their studies can be large and pricey and they have a challenge with resources. They don’t always get the evidence on the population that is needed, as people who take part in their studies are not always the ideal candidates or they lose people over time. To improve on the quality they are working on a new approach to incorporate more routine data and data that is already available into their evaluations.

Polly Thompson, IT Director from Valleys to Coast Housing, talked about maximising access to information to match tenants to suitable housing. Currently, health data is available to panels on schemes offering extra care in sheltered housing, but not in general housing. They often don’t know if there is an issue with mental health until the problem has been escalated, so they are having to ask the tenant if there is anything they need to know.

Dr Izabela Spernaes, Mathematical Modelling Unit Lead, deals with data on a daily basis, leading a small unit that helps health boards to analyse data to predict and test future scenarios. They use SharePoint to share data.

Dr Kerry Bailey works as a GP two days a week and in research in WePredict. She is passionate about improving people’s health, by looking at evidence and talking to patients about their priorities and perceptions. As a GP she has access to a rich source of data and has worked with Helen Thomas to improve health by looking at how data from primary and secondary care may be better used.

Victoria Norman, of Signum Health, has an NHS background of fifteen years, working for both Public Health Wales and in Primary Care. Victoria identified a host of services in the community that were not being used or not connected to primary care. Signum Health established a social prescribing platform, which allows Health Professionals to refer patients to community services; be able to track that data and transfer it back into the care record. She identifies the need for a common platform to connect primary care to social services.

Following on from the panel’s insights, the audience was given an opportunity to question the panel.

Concerns were raised with the Welfare Reform in Housing and Universal Credit:

Polly Thompson advised that a proactive approach be taken to identify customers who are at risk of falling into arrears with rent. It was highlighted that the Welsh Government have a group of stakeholders to monitor the outcome of this. Anne Marie Cunningham advised that if the audience was interested in health and housing that there is to be a Housing Hack through Community Health Cymru towards the end of the year.

A question was raised on how a safe space might be created for private and public sectors to come together to collaborate on problems. Helen Thomas explained how there are more opportunities to work more collaboratively and we now have the Digital Health Echo System in Wales, which provides a space for likeminded people to innovate together.

A chance to network and enjoy a glass of prosecco finished off the evening, which provided an opportunity for the audience to speak more closely with the panel and exchange ideas. We knew the evening was a success when the security guards had to persuade us to leave the building!!

Thanks to all the panel and audience for making the first Welsh Hub event such a success. We look forward to welcoming you to Wales for our next event. Diolch yn Fawr!


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