Data-Driven Services and Insights

Data is harnessed to the benefit of citizens, services and innovation.

Sam's story

Sam is a university researcher with an interest in frailty and in developing innovative services that are more tailored towards people’s individual needs.  The University carries out research projects in partnership with health and social care organisations across Scotland to promote healthy ageing and identify appropriate support for older people who may have multiple or complex health conditions and social care support needs.

Sam’s project is looking into detection of early signs of frailty in older people, and how to develop a consistent support model across Scotland to help those at most risk – both in their day to day lives enabling them to live independently, and in preventing falls and hospital admissions.  The data Sam needs is a combination of personal information provided by those participating in the study, health and care information held by multiple organisations as well as population level health and care data drawn from communities and organisations across different locations in Scotland. 

Previously, getting access to the required data and combining data sets was challenging, with data held in silos and variation in governance and information standards across lots of organisations.  Now, however, the process is much clearer and easier, with better quality data available, due to several nationally driven developments.  The publication of Scotland’s Data Strategy for Health and Social Care provides people with the clarity and transparency on how their data will be used which supports Sam in their research as it highlights the importance of improving access to and sharing of data through the introduction of a framework for the ethical use of data.  The National Information Governance Plan will outline how the introduction of a streamlined federated model for information governance supports consistent decision-making, encourages professionals involved in the lives of older people to collaborate and share information through a Code of Conduct which provides confidence for professionals like Sam and those participating in the research that their data is being used appropriately and for the right purposes. 

The upcoming launch of the new SEER 2 platform means that 20,000 data sets being used by people professionals across Scotland are connected which will strengthen and improves the availability of critical data for statistical analysis and reporting which supports Sam in their research as it provides greater technical capability in delivering data-driven insights at a population level so services can be delivered to meet the needs of citizens and services.  Data from across GP IT systems will also be made available on a use-case basis to Health Boards and public health bodies which will strengthen and improve statistical analysis.

The introduction of legally mandated common standards, as well as common coding and vocabulary, and technical and classification standards will mean systems can talk to each other which also improves the quality of data, being able to collect ethnicity data to agreed standards allows more focused insight into health and social care issues to address inequities in health outcomes. 

With processes more streamlined and consistent, including in the collection of data, time is freed up to enable professionals to be more productive which can be applied to care and support

Longer term, as people share and contribute to their own health and care information with appropriate safeguards, insights are available from depersonalised data at a population level into people’s experiences, preferences and outcomes that support the delivery of more tailored support and offering predictive and preventative treatments and services across the population.  

“The fact that the data is available, accurate and consistent makes my job so much easier and helps deliver insights that inform new methods, treatments and services to the benefit of everyone.”