Comment Blog 22 November, 2023

Personalised, preventative and high-performing healthcare in England

Ming Tang
Chief Data and Analytics Officer, NHS England

Our Data Saves Lives strategy highlights the importance of data and analytics in supporting the NHS. It is key to delivering personalised and preventive healthcare, enabling the targeting of effective treatments based on genetic makeup, lifestyle, and medical history.  

Preventative healthcare focuses on keeping people healthy and well, supporting people with the right information to make healthy choices, and to access early detection and intervention. 

We can use data and analytics to identify areas where we can change how we deliver for patients and implement evidence-based interventions, improving healthcare in England through: 

  • Predictive analytics: identifying people at high risk of developing certain diseases, such as cancer or heart disease, allowing us to target them with early detection and intervention services to save lives and improve health outcomes. 
  • Precision medicine: identifying the most effective treatments for individual patients, based on their genetic make-up and other factors, from those already being used to treat diseases. 
  • Population health management: identifying and addressing the health needs of populations, to develop and implement public health interventions, such as vaccination campaigns. 
  • Clinical decision support: providing clinicians with real-time information and insights to help them make better decisions about patient care. 
  • Resource allocation: supporting informed decisions about how to allocate resources within the NHS – identifying areas of high need and ensuring funding is directed to the most effective services. 

We are still in the early stages of our journey to use data and analytics. However, we have made significant progress and are working to address some of the challenges: 

  • Data sharing: improving how data is shared across the NHS and with other partners, allowing a more complete picture of each patient's health and social care needs. 
  • Data quality: improving the quality of data that is collected and used; ensuring that data is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. 
  • Data skills: developing the data skills of NHS staff at all levels. 
  • Public trust: building public trust in how data is used, providing transparency over how data is collected and used, and giving patients control over their own data. 

As Chief Data and Analytics Officer for NHS England, I am committed to addressing these challenges, so that we can continue to use data and analytics to create a healthcare system that is personalised, preventative, and high-performing. If we get this right, it will help us all to live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

This article was published in Reform's brochure for the 'Future government: data-driven, citizen-centric' conference, which you can view here: Future government: data-driven, citizen-centric.