Accurate data not only identifies problems, but also where the NHS is getting it right

If data is the answer, what is the question?


Ever-better systems for gathering information in healthcare are delivering remarkable amounts of information – but is that information being properly analysed and interpreted? Are organisations following through on the insights they have access to? Lapses can have potentially fatal consequences: two patients died of lung cancer after Portsmouth Hospitals Trust failed to analyse a backlog of 23,000 chest X-rays; now the Trust is part of the NHS England lung cancer early detection pilot which aims to improve lung cancer survival rates in the UK.    Stories like this, revealing poor care in the NHS, are, of course, daily fodder for the media. Where the healthcare system falls short, journalists rightly highlight the issue, driving awareness and, ideally, change. But perhaps we tend to overlook the more positive achievements that go under the ‘what’s gone wrong today’ radar. There’s so much wonderful work going on each day in hospitals across the country, unsung heroes saving lives, innovation and technology making efficiencies and more accurate diagnoses, improved work-flows that deliver more streamlined services and better outcomes for patients.   Patients like my mother, who last year underwent investigations then a successful operation to remove cancer. The exemplary treatment she received at the East Surrey Hospital was a model of patient-centred care.  Arriving at the Pendleton Day-Care Unit, she was swooped upon by the full range of experts – doctors, nurses, physios, occupational therapists – and given all the tests without having to make further appointments. It all happened there and then. My gratitude to staff at the hospital is boundless and I am delighted to see that the hospital now boasts a well-deserved ‘Outstanding’ CQC rating.
 

Accurate data can help us identify not only the problems, but also where things are going seriously right....


In these times of stretched healthcare resources, let alone extraordinary political uncertainty, the value of factual data has never been greater. It was data analysis that underpinned the CHKS Top Hospitals Awards that I hosted on the 12th June – hard facts, rather than qualitative judgements, selected the winners across a range of categories, including patient safety, quality of care, patient experience, healthcare efficiency, data quality and most improved.   The CHKS portal, iCompare, allows hospitals to compare their performance with similar services, revealing beacons of excellence that can drive wider improvements across the sector through sharing best practice, raising the bar for standards of care. The winners of the Top Hospitals Awards were clearly delighted that their hard work had been recognised, it was a night of celebration of the very best in hospital care. When the question is ‘what is working best in healthcare?’, the answer is in the data - and you can’t argue with that.    For more information on iCompare, visit www.chks.co.uk/icompare or contact info@chks.co.uk If data is the answer, what is the question? Ever-better systems for gathering information in healthcare are delivering remarkable amounts of information – but is that information being properly analysed and interpreted?
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