100 Ways of Using Data to Make Lives Better

The Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP)

Published on: 13th June 2017

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Learning Health Systems
Case Study 49

Director: Prof Aileen Keel CBE
Deputy Director: Dr Hilary Dobson

IHDP is working with partners to fundamentally change the way data and analytics are used to improve health outcomes.

The Challenge

Access to high quality, accurate data is an essential part of good person-centred care. All high performing healthcare systems internationally are supported by data collection, often in real time, to enable person-centred care, quality healthcare delivery, improvement programmes, performance management and research.

A problem – and an opportunity – facing the whole of modern healthcare is the rapidly increasing amount of data potentially available to inform and improve care. NHS Scotland is awash with cancer data but it currently exists in separate and unlinked locations. These data sets need to be organised and harnessed to optimise outcomes. To achieve this will require the involvement and collaboration of many individuals and organisations. The Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP) aims to fundamentally change the way that data and analytics are used to drive improvements in health outcomes, by fostering new relationships between the NHS, industry, academia and the third sector.

While the programme’s initial focus is on cancer it has a clear remit to apply proven methodology to other clinical areas.

The Research

Cancer and the development of a Scottish Cancer Intelligence Framework (SCIF) has been identified as the IHDP’s first priority, supported by funding announced in the Cancer Strategy, Beating Cancer: Ambition and Actions published in March 2016. IHDP is working to ensure that Scotland makes much better use of its rich cancer data assets to create the kind of data-driven care to which the NHS has long aspired.

The Results

Working with key partners, IHDP supports projects developed under various workstreams to enable the delivery of its aims.

  • IHDP is working closely with the National Services Scotland (NSS) to explore how modern technologies could be used to increase the timeliness of data access and reduce the current complexity of cancer analytics.
  • The Scottish Cancer Registry will be a crucial component of the SCIF. IHDP commissioned an independent external review of the registry. Recommendations arising from the review are now being jointly implemented by NSS and IHDP.
  • IHDP is a partner in the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) funded Cancer Innovation Challenge which proposes an Open Innovation opportunity to develop a Scottish solution to overcome these technical barriers.
  • A fundamental gap in NHS Scotland’s ability to analyse, report and benchmark nationally is in the area of chemotherapy. IHDP has established a National SACT Data Group to provide direction and expert input to this requirement. A project sponsored by the Group has successfully demonstrated that it is possible to link data in a ‘virtual’ environment to allow national reporting.

The Impact

The creation of the SCIF offers potential benefits to patients, clinicians, service planners, policy makers, researchers and others. These include the ability to:

  • enable clinicians to have direct (near real time) access to cancer data.
  • enable people living with cancer access to their own data.
  • facilitate improved cancer audit in order to develop an ethos of continuous quality improvement, enabling inappropriate variations in treatment and outcomes to be identified and addressed.
  • support better performance management and service planning of cancer services.
    benchmark cancer services and outcomes in Scotland with the rest of the UK and more widely.
  • enhance research and innovation opportunities in Scotland.

For more information about IHDP visit:

Enquiries to Sabine Kurz, Communications Assistant, The Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research and IHDP, sabine.kurz@ed.ac.uk.

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