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Using data to improve health and social care

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Leeds council and health leaders join a national project to use data to improve health and social care in the UK.

The Networked Data Lab is a collaborative of advanced analytical teams from across the UK.

The teams are working together on shared challenges and promoting the use of analytics to improve health and social care.

The project will look at how partners can work together to use data to improve health and care in the UK, including addressing Covid-19 and widening health and care inequalities.

It will do this by identifying and analysing three data sets over three years. The first data set focused on people who were advised to shield at various points during the pandemic This group of patients are the ones deemed the most at risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid.

NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group and Leeds City Council have successfully bid for £400,000 to take part in the initiative.

The Leeds Data model imports health and social care data from organisations including hospitals, GP practices, urgent care including 111 and ambulance, community and mental health, maternity, adult social care and population data.

This information is depersonalised which means identifiable items such as name, date of birth, address and NHS number are removed and replaced by a unique number.

Linked data sets will allow us to combine similar information from different organisations. Working in this way enables providers to better understand the health of the population and how they use its services.

This insight can then be used to design population-focussed services and improve health outcomes.

Cllr Fiona Venner, executive member for adult and children’s social care and heealth partnerships, Leeds City Council, said the project will allow the council to adapt the support available for people in the clinically extremely vulnerable group.

“During the course of the pandemic, more than 70,000 people in Leeds were advised to shield at home; this meant they were advised not to leave their homes and to minimise all face-to-face contact with others, even with people they lived with.

“Although the risk to the CEV people is significantly lower, and the advice to shield is no longer in place, we know that people in this group still need support.

“Therefore, local practical and emotional support continues to be available for people who need to reduce their risk, and we continue to ensure people are well informed about the support that is available.

“However, we know there are much wider health consequences of the pandemic, such as poorer mental health, and that people from the CEV group have been disproportionately affected.

“The Network Data Lab project has given us a deeper understanding of those issues, which means we can continue to adapt the support available for people in the clinically extremely vulnerable group.”

An important part of the NDL project is involving patients and the public in the project to ensure that data is used in a legitimate and transparent way and recognises patients, carers and the public as stakeholders with rights and responsibilities for publicly funded services.

This ensures we don’t make assumptions about people’s experience of health and social care and that we focus on reducing health inequalities.

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