Data lakes are being sold as the solution to delivering population health programmes but if you are a GP the best starting place might be your own data pool.
Every GP practice in the country is sitting on a pool of data that they have inputted, understand and trust. For a GP that might be a better starting point on their population health journey than a data lake. For professionals who are understandably cautious, a practice’s own data has the advantage of being populated with real-time information, from known contributors, with the ability to verify accuracy and completeness immediately.
What practices lack are the tools to help GPs treat every patient optimally every time - not the data.
That was Carl Woodroffe, Vision’s Business Development Manager’s, message to the 2019 Digital Primary Care Congress in Manchester.
NHS organisations are starting to understand the value of the data sitting dormant in every GP practice, but the answer may not always be to pull all the data into a single data lake and then issue reports that may not have the same relevance to GPs as their own data.
Carl explained: “GPs need to be able to discuss their own data on a daily basis. They need to be able to discuss the data they inputted. They can trust their own data and they can learn from their own data by re-running programmes once they’ve taken action.”
“Data lakes have a role. They are great for understanding broad aspects of patient care. But the key to proactive, high-quality, standards-based, population-level health management is the data GPs have spent the last 15 years developing alongside QOF.”
Carl added: “The world has moved on and the NHS Long Term Plan has rightly recognised just what a vital tool population health management is going to be in moving from reactive to proactive care.
"There is huge potential for this technology. Vision’s Outcomes Manager tool is in 1600 practices but in most only a fraction of its potential is being utilised.
“I get excited when I see the difference that Population Health makes. We can baseline services and easily measure improvements in care and outcomes. These aren’t just numbers on a page but stories of people living happier lives because their health outcomes have been improved. The potential improvements are significant and measurable. From simple tasks that identify diabetic patients with out-of-control blood sugars, to reducing low-impact fractures in elderly patients, to understanding risk profiles for all sorts of conditions or looking at how clinicians can improve the safety of their prescribing.
“Vision has used Outcomes Manager to help with the TOWARD study in Wales which is looking at taking patients off steroid inhalers to improve their quality of life. The early indication is that it could make a significant difference to patients and save the NHS millions. That all comes from applying best practice to the data.
“The Long Term Plan talks specifically about using a proactive population health approach that enables clinicians to make sound, consistent clinical decisions based on up-to-date data. This is something Vision can help with today and for most GPs it is a service they can commission through their CCG via the GPSoC framework.”