Partnership to drive Liverpool Big Data Collaborative

New initiative to link up health records across NHS trusts

The demand and cost of healthcare is increasing at a time when the economy is under pressure.

A new initiative, the Liverpool Big Data Collaboration for Health, is bringing together key partners across the health and academic community, including Liverpool John Moores University to take advantage of big data to support the changes required.

The potential for big data in a collaborative hub is to support research, commissioning and completely transform healthcare across Merseyside

A sustainable solution requires significant change in the way the NHS works, away from the current ‘sickness model’ of health interventions towards a person-centred ‘wellness model’. The better use of data can enable this change.

Combined with emerging data science skills, big data offers a capability to infer insight from vast data sets sufficiently rapidly to be used in real time.

This will create a jointly-owned big-data informatics facility dedicated to realising the full potential of big data for operational, clinical and research purposes - all centred on improving health outcomes.

A range of potential benefits have been identified. For example, to support the development of stratified medicine where diagnosis and treatment can be personalised based on a patient’s genetic profile.

Big data can also help the sharing of health records across organisations so that clinicians have all the information about an individual patient. This avoids the need for tests and investigations to be repeated when a patient is being cared for by clinicians in different NHS trusts.

It can also support the analysis of key problem areas like preventable readmissions so that these can be kept to a minimum, with the right care being provided at the right time and in the right place. Other benefits relate to clinical research creating a richer database available for the evaluation of services and treatments, and strengthening bids for external funding. It can even make personal information available directly to patients themselves to enable them to better manage their own conditions.

The facility will offer a data safe-haven, and data-sciences skills and knowledge alongside operational and commercial management. The technical infrastructure will work across multiple sites and localities and be able to scale up to cover the north of England and beyond if needed. The facility will operate as a self-sustaining collaborative enterprise, supporting the big data information needs of the key partners as well as serving commercial markets.

Dr F Arshad, head of the Centre for Health and Social Care Informatics (CHaSCI) at the LJMU School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences, said: “LJMU’s Centre for Health and Social Care Informatics developed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust (RLBUHT) just over two years ago with a focus on shaping LJMU's engagement with the health sector around the Informatics agenda.

“The Big Data Collaborative is an example of the type of engagement that is proactive, leveraging technological skills which the university has already developed. Expertise that LJMU brings to the partnership is unique in that it demonstrates, through an existing project how patient specific data on long-term conditions such as diabetes can be harnessed to create patient self care tools. This work will be extended in a further project due to start shortly demonstrating feasibility of NHS Big Data.”

The Big Data Collaborative is an example of the type of engagement that is proactive, leveraging technological skills which the university has already developed

This initiative brings together Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), the University of Liverpool, Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, Liverpool Health Partners (LHP), RLBUHT and the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network as key partners alongside social care, public health and other sectors allied to medicine and healthcare. LBDCH will enable health and social care data to be used for designing better care pathways and delivering patient specific care.

James Norman, director of IM&T at the RLBUHT, said: "We are working in Liverpool on a big data collaboration with the clinical commissioning group, local health partners, the two universities and possibly Greater Manchester and that's probably going to be one of the biggest changes in healthcare we will see. The potential for big data in a collaborative hub is to support research, commissioning and completely transform healthcare across Merseyside. We're quite excited about that. It combines together healthcare IT and the most transformative projects."

Over the last year, the RLBUHT has sponsored a strategic initiative to consider the value of a collaborative approach to big data. It commissioned Ignetica to work with the partners through a series of workshops and events to explore the opportunities, challenges and strategic options.

The resulting strategy for the Liverpool Big Data Collaboration is summarised in the LBDC Health Prospectus. A website will be available shortly by clicking here.

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