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Session on 11 February 2021

Stuart Lowe, Data Projects, Open Innovations

More than 50 people joined our third #OpenDataSavesLives session of 2021 and the first to be led by the Health Foundation. The session looked at open data and digital innovation in primary care.

Joining us were Alison Dias, Data Analyst from NHS England; Steve Black, Chief Analyst, askmyGP and Stuart Monk, Programme Director, South West Academic Health Science Network.

You can watch the session here.

Useful websites:

Key points from the live chat:

Alison Dias, Data Analyst, NHS England - Open data to understand the impact of remote consultations in primary care

Alison demonstrated how open data can be harnessed to generate rapid insights into the possible impacts of service innovations such as the roll-out of remote consultations in primary care – helping to fill an evidence gap.

Paul Connell commented that open data makes a big difference in working on more granular analyses, allowing to move at pace and fix problems.

Daniela asked whether just ‘online’ consultations were being considered from askmyGP or also telephone/video? Alison confirmed that the data gave flexibility to look at what was important "From the askmyGP data we can see how the consultation request was initiated - by online message or telephone, and how it was closed - by online message, telephone, face to face, visit. Depending on our analysis, we can select requests that had a particular pathway."

Ellen Coughlan asked Alison if she hopes that this work will help make the case for other software providers to share their data and what other barriers are there for sharing it. Alison definitely hopes that other software providers will be willing to share their data the impact can be evaluated more comprehensively. She believes the primary barrier is Information Governance - it just takes a little time to finalise data sharing terms and agreements. By demonstrating this work with askmyGP data we can show other providers the benefits of sharing their data.

You can see Alison’s presentation.

Steve Black, Chief Analyst, askmyGP - Open data and askmyGP

Steve gave an overview of the range of data that askmyGP make openly available via an online dashboard – and showed how this data can help ‘mythbust’ when it comes to remote consultations in primary care.

This data helps GP practices with improvement efforts - the staff in askmyGP practices get detailed interactive analysis of their own activity – and askmyGP will share their data for research.

Due to some technical issues in Steve’s session, you can see the final two data plots he wanted to show below.

  • GPs don't always respond using the patients' choice of method. You can see from the flow of requests that they read the specific query/problem and sometimes adopt a different response method that might be more appropriate to the problem.
  • Patients like the system, giving their GPs very, very positive feedback on the Friends and Family Test question (AskMyGP gives every request the chance to give FFT feedback and free-text feedback).

Edward Walley commented that he is one of Stephens' myth promoters and that the askmyGP system is much better than the one his surgery uses (SystemOne), but it won’t help those surgeries which don’t use it. Rufus Helm added that there are plenty of surgeries that use askmyGP alongside SystmOne.

Daniela asked Steve to clarify whether the proportion of patients using the phone is really so low compared to online.

Steve clarified that this is the proportion of patients prefer to phone the practice rather than go online - "The system is really easy to use online."

You can watch Steve’s session.

Stuart Monk, Programme Director, South West Academic Health Science Network - Digital innovation in primary care in the South West

Stuart’s talk covered the experience of supporting digital innovation in primary care in the South West, and what role data (which needs to include qualitative and quantitative evidence) can play.

Stephen Black asked Stuart whether they gathered any evidence comparing telephone to messaging? Messages are asynchronous, calls are not, so messages should be better. Stuart replied that most of the information they had was anecdotal.

Harry Longman commented that “Patient flow and understanding what matters to patients is, in his view, the starting point. The technology is a means to that end. The problem, it seems, is that if we start with the tech discussion, neither patients nor practices really see the point and it's hard work "pushing" a change.  Question is how to "pull" and this works if we address the real felt problems. They don't have ethnicity data at patient level, but they do have askmyGP practices at opposite ends of the diversity spectrum and no significant difference in uptake.”

Dimitri Varsamis added “It is, however, also fair to say that even when practices see the potential benefit of a business change, they don’t have the skills, support, interest to implement. I always give as an example of this your own amazing work of askmyGP or past iterations i.e. that yes very good potential benefits, but practices didn’t jump to it purely due to the benefit (and hence my angle of how to roll-out via national GP contract requirement).” Harry added “Dimitri yes, nail on head, there's a huge question about intervention here, it is not just about technology.” Rufus Helm said “Dimitri - completely agree; that's why we at askmyGP spend time with practices supporting them to deliver the change and why we achieve results from Day 1 of launch.” Dimitri finished the chat by saying that hopefully with the new national requirement it will help.

You can see Stuart’s presentation.

The next big event from ODI Leeds is Northernlands 3 on 15/16 March 2021 which will feature some amazing speakers, covering health, transport, the future of the economy and more. You can get early details and registration via the website: