News, NHS trust

Predictive modelling, data dashboards and early warning systems feature in strategic data themes from Somerset NHS

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s digital strategy strategic data themes focus on the four core principles of predict, prepare, prevent and improve, setting out planned actions including providing training for staff on predictive modelling, developing tools so that front-end users can create their own data dashboards; and developing early warning systems designed to help reduce risk to patients and to monitor pressure and capacity across the ICS.

Under predict, actions in four key areas focus on predictive data, data science and artificial intelligence, data engineering and prescriptive data. Along with predictive modelling training for staff, these actions include identifying opportunities to enhance reporting using predictive techniques like clustering; developing decision support tools; allocating 30 percent of the data professional budget to “preparing the organisation for the future”; ensuring data architecture is modernised; ensuring that data professionals are “given the appropriate training to understand and respond to the latest cybersecurity threats”; using simulation models to avoid making “unnecessary and costly change”; and creating simulations of the waiting list to give staff an insight into impacts of planned interventions.

On supporting work around keeping the trust prepared, Somerset shares plans across emergency preparedness, resilience and response, patient and public engagement, data on demand, and open ways of working. These actions include quantifying the impact of large events to ensure sufficient response from services; creating tools to monitor population health and demographic changes; forming data sharing agreements to ensure visibility of 999, 111, and other provider data for region-wide planning; and the delivery of a comms package to ensure the public and patients are informed about the use of their data. Additionally, the trust pledges to ensure that the public have a voice in the use of their data, and to ensure that “critical business areas” have access to live data; to develop tools to enable front-end users to create their own dashboards; and to promote the use of free and open-source software where possible.

System-wide planning, risk stratification, early warning systems and population health are the key focuses for prevention within the strategy. Here, the trust plans to provide linked datasets between the trust, primary and social care; to bring data professionals from across the system into the same “virtual team” to ensure consistency in approach; and to adopt common standards and tools for interoperability. Somerset will also work on developing tools to identify at-risk populations; develop early warning systems to reduce risk to patients and to monitor pressure and capacity across the ICS; and use data science modelling techniques to improve operational workflows.

Around the principle of improvements, Somerset places emphasis on research, data literacy, innovation culture, and service improvement. Encouraging staff to participate in research, ensuring the trust is meeting obligations under the Secure Data Environment and training staff on data literacy are some of the actions planned in this area; along with ensuring that leaders have the skills needed to make “well informed data driven decisions” and creating a single access point for data requests. In addition, Somerset notes the need to ensure that AI and other analytical techniques are “conducted within a safe, ethical, and transparent framework”; to work toward the NHS Digital Architecture Principles; to prioritise data requests based on potential to drive improvement; and to ensure that data professionals are available to provide advice.

The publication can be found in full here.

In other news on data, a new health and wellbeing strategy spanning 2024-2030 has been published by Oxfordshire Health and Wellbeing Board, highlighting digital and data as key enablers and pledging to “improve the extent, quality, and accessibility of digital infrastructure and more effectively generate insight from data to inform decision making”.

Elsewhere, the latest strategy from University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust lists digital and data as enablers of success with a “new continuous improvement approach” planned to drive large-scale transformation, underpinned by programmes including digital and technology.