Liverpool City Region experts joins UK health data network to solve pressing health care challenges

Data scientists and health data analysts from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool Health Partners, Liverpool CCG and Healthy Wirral Partners are joining forces with a national network of experts to work on some of the biggest challenges facing health and care services today.

Liverpool CCG and Healthy Wirral Partners will receive funding of up to £400,000 over two years, with additional support from the University of Liverpool, to build data analytic capability.

The Networked Data Lab, created by the independent charity the Health Foundation, is the first network of its kind, bringing together analytical teams from across the country to develop a deeper understanding of the factors affecting people’s health in the UK. It will focus on today’s most pressing challenges, such as understanding how to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable people who are shielding or identifying the unmet need of those with severe mental illness.

While there is already a wealth of data which could be used to paint a clearer picture of the UK’s health needs – including from GPs, hospitals and local authorities – this information is often very fragmented and does not capture all of the health and care services that people are likely to experience.

The Networked Data Lab’s partners are already successfully linking data locally, and by combining their expertise, knowledge and experience, the Health Foundation is aiming to create unique insights. These will help national and local decision makers to better understand the needs of their community, improve services and design innovative approaches to delivering care.

Sarah Deeny, Assistant Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, explains: “What has been clear throughout the COVID-19 crisis, is that high-quality and comprehensive data and information are often the key to solving our most pressing health and care issues. Data has played a fundamental role in understanding the challenges presented by the virus and in finding innovative ways to solve problems. But these complex challenges extend beyond the current crisis – the same innovation will be needed in future to ensure that health and care services meet people’s needs.”

The Network Data Lab will also share freely the learnings and the code used to analysis, for others to use, to achieve impact at national and local level.

Iain Buchan, Executive Dean, Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool and Director of Digital Strategy and Partnerships at Liverpool Health Partners, said: “Health Foundation’s Networked Data Lab allows UK health data experts to contribute to, and borrow from, a national library of recipes for analysing complex health data – stronger together than any single team could achieve alone.

“COVID-19 has heightened and hastened the need for intelligence-led health and care systems. Cheshire and Merseyside (2.6 m population) has come together in a new £4.5m Combined Intelligence for Population Health Action (CIPHA) initiative that will join Networked Data Lab analytic efforts and provide integrated NHS, Local Authority and Public Health data in a Civic Data Cooperative where analysts have a prominent public role.

“The University of Liverpool is pleased to co-invest in the Networked Data Lab’s forward-looking people, methodology and infrastructure.”

Helen Duckworth, Deputy Director of Planning, Performance and Delivery for Liverpool CCG, adds: “The Networked Data Lab offers a fantastic opportunity for Liverpool and Wirral to develop analysis and insight utilising NHS and Local Authority data in order to tackle system pressures and widening inequalities. The importance of this work is more heightened than ever before given the impact of COVID-19 which will undoubtedly have as yet unforeseen short and long term effects on our population.

“The demand for actionable analytics is constantly growing, and the breadth of organisations involved in The Networked Data Lab is extremely positive as it will enable greater co-learning and sharing of intelligence. This can only be beneficial for the people of Liverpool and Wirral, and all of our partners involved.”