New Radicals 2016 accolade putting data into action

12 July 2016

This week we made it on the list of 50 New Radicals 2016. New Radicals is a search led by Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, and The Observer to find the top people, projects and organisations offering innovative ways to tackle the challenges facing society today. The list compiled from hundreds of entries and nominations, narrowed down by a panel of judges – see what they had to say about us.

We are very proud that our work is being recognised as innovative by a national body and the timing couldn’t be better. With the Carter Review under our belts and the Wachter Review expected to be published after the summer, it feels as though finally there is some momentum gathering behind health informatics. The fact is that health informatics needs a good push because we don’t do it very well in the NHS. Every time I say this I keep seeing heads nod, but nothing changes. Beautiful Information is calling for a five-year strategy called Information 2021 which sponsors research, runs accredited courses and events as well as introducing intern and alumni programmes.

NHS informatics has to progress beyond reporting A&E attendances and move into the realm of information-led operational change. That may sound like management speak, but it simply means being able to give the chief operating officer real-time information that will enable them to challenge the status quo and more importantly to share this across organisational boundaries to commissioners and other providers. Having this information means COOs can carry out extensive analysis of patient flow data through A&E, 18 week and cancer performance, ward activity and how existing clinical models of care are having an impact on performance. At Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, putting data into action has led to a significant improvement in its A&E performance so that it is now one of the best in the region. Patients who previously required extensive assessment in the ED, followed by referral to the Medical Team and subsequent admission, are now being identified at an earlier stage and only admitted purely on clinical need, not because of operational pressure.

So what’s next for Beautiful Information? We will continue to make sure useful information is available in compelling and intuitive ways and are developing a range of new applications for healthcare providers and commissioners, working with partners in both the public and private sector.

Dr Marc Farr