The power of linked datasets

7 December 2018

We held a joint conference with Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSS AHSN) in November 2018 to explore linked data sets for population health management.

Marc Farr, Founder of Beautiful Information and Director of Information at East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explains.

“A huge amount of data already exists, and thanks to the Internet of Things, which connects everyday objects via the internet, more data is becoming available.

For example, imagine a set of scales that calculates an individual’s BMI and sends it to their GP. If you link that information with data from their supermarket loyalty card, which will show dietary habits, and tie that in with socioeconomic and hospital data, you can start to plan services around that person.

At East Kent Hospitals we’re looking to link police and NHS data to create a model that can predict domestic violence. The police has people they think are in danger, but don’t know how often these people are going to hospital. Sharing that data could be invaluable in predicting abuse. At Beautiful Information we’re concentrating our efforts around the early detection of cancer, in the context of the new NHS Long Term Plan.

The aim of our conference was to coalesce a group of experts to discuss how to make it quicker and simpler to link data sets for the greater good.

We looked at a range of issues including legal and ethical governance, the technicalities of the work, the development of research questions and what we’re doing around AI, machine learning and model building.

Linked data sets clearly have a vital role to play in population health management and the Kent Integrated Data Set (KIDS) is already providing us with some fascinating insights.

The plan is to replicate the KIDS across the region and nationally, and Beautiful Information and KSS AHSN are at the forefront of that movement.”