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Care & Health 7th June 2017 - 1 min read

Data is the new oil – so let’s drill for it together

By Julia Ross
Data driven” start-ups are the wildcatters of the new economy. They prospect for digital oil, extract it and turn it into clever new services, from analysing X-rays and CAT scans to determining where to spray herbicide on a  field”, according to The Economist in the week of May 6th.In the case of personal data, the oil comparison works as data can be sold and bought. Though not in barrels!Oil, of course, is a source of private wealth in the West, the Middle East and Russia though who knows about Venezuela. This happens on a daily basis with us, Joe Public opting in.

What about mandatory sharing of data for the public good? A far cry from Caldicott, talking of which now we are in a post purdah period, presumably we will see the  publication of the long promised next stage Caldicott Review. My guess is that it will also see NHS Digital opening its doors a little more to the free flowing of data.

Does this all matter ? Well yes, it does. Because without the free flowing of data at both an individual and whole population level and the ability to interconnect all this data, STPs, Trusts and all organisations involved will fail to ensure the free flow of patients across the acute, primary care and social care sectors.

When I was joint CE of the PCT and Director of social services at Barking and Dagenham, I knew we needed better data – and better analysis of data. But no organisations offered the drill down analysis now available.

Style fetishists note I’m sticking to my metaphor. We will drill down for oil and drill down for data.

Looking recently at a presentation of a PAC Vanguard (Primary, Acute and Community ) I was very struck at how strong the progress is but still, still the holy grail of looking at joined up impact is not there.

Julia Ross
By Julia Ross
1 min read

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