Tim Kelsey: Data revolution 'fundamental' to patient revolution

Tim Kelsey

A data revolution is fundamental to enabling an "urgently needed" patient revolution in the NHS, the national director for patients and information told delegates at the NHS Confederation's annual conference and exhibition in Liverpool (6 June).

Speaking on the last day of conference, Tim Kelsey said that "big data is about unleashing the power of people."

Such data would enable the service to pool collective wisdom and experience, better understand outcomes and develop new ways of thinking that will enable everybody to benefit.

He acknowledged that until now there has been a focus on hospital data. The service now needs to ensure similar levels of transparency in all other parts of care so that it can follow a patient's journey over the course of their healthcare experience. 

"It is by doing this that we can become truly people – not service – orientated," he told the audience of health and care leaders.

'Liberate data'

He added that the service will need to liberate its data – giving permission to healthcare professionals, clinicians, health scientists and others to use the data to improve care. One of most important conversations the service needs to have is "the rights we have to our own data and how it should be shared" as enabled by the Care Act.

'Instrument of providing data'

As the availability of data is transferred to the public, patients will also need to "become the instrument of providing data."

The service will also need to understand the outcomes that patients place most value on to enable it to measure and provide effective data, he said.

Watch Tim Kelsey's speech

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