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NHS Wales at the forefront of data-driven care

New condition-specific data dashboards are being developed by NHS Wales to provide insight into patient outcomes, and to identify variations in care.

Analysts and tech experts from the NHS Wales Informatics Service are building the dashboards in support of the high-profile Value-Based Healthcare (VBHC) programme, working in collaboration with clinicians, Welsh Government and the Finance Delivery Unit.

The programme places Wales at the forefront of innovation to support value in health, which is about achieving the best possible outcomes for the patient with the resources available.

Dashboards are interactive and link different aspects of the patient journey, including audit data and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMS). This puts a greater focus on the interventions that work best for patients, taking into account their own personal circumstances, and highlighting variation in services and outcomes to reveal over-and under-use of different aspects of healthcare.

The National Lung Cancer Dashboard was released last year, and this will be followed in 2020 by dashboards for heart failure, knee replacements, stroke, cataracts and colorectal cancer.

Work is currently underway to develop a second-generation Lung Cancer dashboard, building on the success of the current dashboard, and evolving to meet  more sophisticated user requirements.

Information Specialist Sally Cox is leading dashboard development at the Informatics Service. She explained: “ To provide the whole picture needed to identify variations in care, we need to bring together all available data. Collecting data in isolation, or in silos based on geographic area, won’t help us to provide the best possible outcomes for patients.”

For the first time condition-specific data is being linked at a national level, enabling a data-driven approach to decision making for both clinicians and patients. It will provide the information needed to assess which interventions are effective and deliver quality care.

Sally added: “Data has the power to have a direct impact on the care and the care choices patients can make. For example, a patient should be able to use the evidence available to inform a decision on whether to have chemotherapy, or whether a replacement knee would improve their quality of life.”

A representative from the Value Based Healthcare team said: “Surprisingly, not everything we do in healthcare contributes to the best outcomes for people. We need to do less of things that don’t help and reinvest resources into doing more of the things that do. This is why a data-driven system is so important. It seeks to provide the timely information needed by the people of Wales, our frontline staff and organisations to inform the decisions that lead to the best outcomes in a way that is financially sustainable.”


Published: 10/02/20