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BLOG: OpenDataSavesLives session on 6 May 2021

Stuart Lowe, Data Projects, Open Innovations

Chaired by Dr Marc Farr, Founder, Beautiful Information Ltd and focusing on digital care homes, our 27th Open Data Saves Lives session on Thursday 6 May 2021 saw a record attendance with 49 participants.

Joining us were Claire Goodman, Professor of Health Care Research, University of Hertfordshire; Darren Plank, Project Manager - Digital Social Care, NHS England and Ellen Pirie, Senior Project Manager and Ellie Eastwood, Senior Data Analyst, Health Innovation Network South London.

You can watch the session here.

Key points from the live chat:

Claire Goodman, Professor of Health Care Research, University of Hertfordshire - The four-year DACHA (Developing research resources And minimum data set for Care Homes’ Adoption and use) exploring and enhancing how residents’ data are systematically captured and used

Paul Connell commented “Do the people who ask for data - #GiveTheDataBack?”

Marc Farr asked Claire “I imagine it's possible to consent patients from care homes for a lot of research?” and asked whether is there a lever for private care homes to have to submit data? He added that the Kent and Medway ICS would be interested in collaborating as a pilot area if this would be helpful.

Paul Connell said “We hear about data literacy in almost every session, but what does this mean?  Having people with PhD's in Computational Biology talk about Data Literacy is IMHO not going to help people working in a care home to provide basic data infrastructure to really help residents and their families.”

Ali Morpeth said it would be great to have some TIkTok 2 min explainers on this to make it very publicly accessible. Ruth Keeling, NHSX responded “2 minute videos are a great idea - me/my team are thinking about how we help health & care orgs make this sort of info more publicly accessible - if there are any examples of this kind of thing (or nearly this kind of thing) please share so we can help others replicate.” Marc said that they would need to be very clear in their message - the 'deteriorating resident', for example, is a clear research concept that could be described quickly. Ali added that after doing some research, she was unable to ANYONE who is making Public Health 2 min explainers to make data accessible and understandable to the people who it would benefit, on channels like TikTok.


Polly Sinclair shared these animations:

Ali also asked what sort of training is being done to support digital literacy among care home staff so we can leverage their involvement in wider spread data collection? In Kent, this is ongoing through The Design & Learning centre (MS Teams, NHS mail, etc), but it isn’t widespread nationally. Neil Selby added that Barclays Digital Eagles have also recently started in Surrey.

Robert Stewart added that “Digital literacy encompasses all people and professionals in luring students - working with Kent and Medway ICS to improve digital capability of all 600 care homes in Kent and Medway through our Digital Innovation Centre.”

You can see Claire’s presentation here.

Darren Plank, Project Manager - Digital Social Care, NHS England - The ambitions for digitising care homes from an NHSE perspective - The ambitions for digitising care homes from an NHSE perspective


Derek Rowell said “If Care Homes are required to have a license, then it would be possible to set minimum standards. There is increasing concern about care homes in a post pandemic world - to what extent is a virtual care home plausible? It would rely on data analysis to keep older people safe and to provide care to their homes more of which could be in retirement villages and extra care settings.” Marc added “People would say that all the tech already exists Derek and that most people are relaxed about sharing their data.”

Stuart Lowe, ODI – Leeds said “Not a data point but as well as device and connection for Care Home residents there's just keeping things charged. I have spent a year regularly ringing the Care Home my Dad was discharged to because his connection/device is out of power and he can't charge it himself. It usually takes several phone calls over a couple of days to get him connected again. The problem is that most staff are very unsure of technology.” Darren replied “Thanks Stuart. Sorry to hear you had problems with connecting with your Dad.  I will be happy to bring this up with Barclays who will be delivering the Basic Skills to try and incorporate this into their session.”

Victoria Brunsdon added that her team is planning some research to understand barriers to use of tech in social care and to understand what support is needed to be more confident and motivated to use it.

You can see Darren’s presentation here.

Ellen Pirie, Senior Project Manager and Ellie Eastwood, Senior Data Analyst, Health Innovation Network South London - Building a care home digital maturity dashboard and index for London

To access the London Care Homes dashboard:

  1. Log in to if you are in an existing user or register for an account if you are not.
  2. Request access to the EHCH workspace by emailing
  3. Once you have access to the workspace the direct link to the dashboard is It is located in the Regional Collaboration / London folder.

Example of the Care Homes Digital Maturity Index dashboard which has been built in Kent:

Yvonne Morrissey introduced herself and said “I  was basically a Clinician Consultant in Care of older people for 25 years. My research interests were measuring and improving the quality of life in older peoples’ homes.  When I was a consultant, I was interested in reducing harms due to polypharmacy. I would be interested to work and collaborate on the use of these amazing abundant data sets!

Robert Stewart would be a good contact for you Yvonne.


Ellie Eastwood, Senior Data Analyst, HIN commented “Maintaining an up -to-date care home list is one of the biggest challenges.  Some regularly switch providers, leading to a change in ODS code/CQC ID etc., so linking and carrying over data linkage is difficult. We have developed some Python coding to extract frequently from the CQC API, automatically remove duplicate care homes (e.g. where they are dual providers) and we're currently working on building an essential change log to flag key changes and highlight what actions need taking as a result (e.g. if a care home goes from having DSPT compliance under one provider, to not being DSPT compliant). Polly Sinclair added “We really need to all be badgering database managers/ developers to start using care home ODS to make data linkage at care home level possible without months of laborious manual matching prone also to errors.” Yvonne agreed and said that sometimes it feels an inevitable trajectory but could be looked at in depth and outcomes evaluated.

Stuart Lowe shared the following: In terms of Open Data, Geolytix made some lists of UK Care Homes last year e.g. and

In terms of making the data more globally available there are great projects like using Open Street Map.

Polly Sinclair said “We are hoping to share our code re the CQC API access as well as the digital maturity index methodology once we have these so hopefully we're not all reinventing the wheel.” Ellie added “All NHS care home data is also based on ODS codes - which is OK, but it takes around 6 weeks to generate a new ODS code. Plus there are historical issues with legacy ODS codes.” Claire added “This relates to how data links to CQC data and of course if you had a mandated MDS. Devolved nations e.g. Wales seem to have been able to address which care homes are open or not.”

Robert Stewart mentioned that The Digital Innovation Centre in Kent and Medway is currently looking at/researching how data can: improve resident and professional experience;  proactively improve outcomes and change the way care homes traditionally work.

Ellie Eastwood said “I'd love to ask a question about the addresses issue and someone here might have an answer.  Has anyone got any information on EHR system address field properties? By this, I mean when the patient address is entered, is it linked to any kind of database (e.g. the Royal Mail PAF) to ensure the address entered is standardised to this level (no incorrect postcodes entered with a ‘o’ instead of a ‘0’ and the format is in a standardised form).  If the CQC would also only accept registrations on a PAF compliant address for a care home, this would surely improve the address matching issue.”

You can see Ellen’s and Ellie’s presentation here.