Intelligence Driven Healthcare, May 2018

As we move towards more integrated care, it’s clear that we need to fundamentally rethink how we use data, information and analysis more effectively to drive improvement and innovation.  For too long, the NHS has focused on using intelligence to drive performance management and arguably, this has resulted in waste and duplication that is no longer sustainable.  The Strategy Unit is passionate about intelligence-driven healthcare to improve outcomes for patients and local communities and last week, we hosted a design summit, as part of our Intelligence-Driven Healthcare project.

The Design Summit, involving a broad range of strategic and operational decision makers and thought leaders offered the time and space for reflection, debate and deliberation, in a welcoming and enjoyable environment:

  • Dr Kiran Patel, Medical Director, NHS England (WM) and Consultant Cardiologist, Heart of England NHS Trust, who chaired the summit, challenged our perspectives with a range of questions during the day – including, ‘is medicine an art or a science?’  
  • Peter Spilsbury, Director of the Strategy Unit, set out some of the challenges in delivering place-based care and population health management, warranting a rethink of how intelligence services need to work in future.
  • Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, until recently National Medical Director, NHSE and now Chair of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation, gave an inspirational account of his experiences throughout his career in healthcare - junior doctor; cardiac surgeon; divisional director; Trust medical director; NHSE medical director; and now Trust Chair – at each stage reflecting on the information that he needed and sometimes lacked. Throughout this journey, he has grown an appreciation of what is important for informing learning and improvement.
  • Professor Sir Muir Gray delivered a captivating and stimulating session exploring what approaches are needed to increase the value of healthcare to populations and individuals, highlighting the role of information and analysis.
  • Our Principal Consultant, Fraser Battye teamed up with Gary Chovnick, from ICF, to share findings from our Intelligence-Driven Healthcare project, setting out draft design principles to inform future business intelligence service design.  
  • Keesup Choe, CEO of PredictX, ended the day with a look ahead to what the future might hold, as technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, continue to evolve and are becoming more and more commonplace. Predict X and MLCSU have established an innovation partnership to explore the most effective applications of Artificial Intelligence and behavioural science to real world NHS problems.

The Design Summit was the culmination of the first phase in our Intelligence-Driven Healthcare project commissioned by our host, MLCSU, which aims to explore emerging needs as the NHS moves towards place-based and integrated care systems. Thus determining:

  • What the important questions are that need answering and for whom, in order to deliver the best outcomes for the population served? 
  • What information and intelligence is needed and how should it be made accessible to those who will actually respond to it?

From this work, led by Alison Turner and James de Lacy, we have developed a set of design principles to address emerging information needs.  We see such principles as vital if the NHS is to avoid both system supplier-led decisions and an overwhelming 'data tower of Babel' churning out ever growing amounts of data without any sense of the questions it is intended to address. What we see as essential now is a 'less is more' ethos, with careful thinking about 'why?' and 'what?'…before getting to' how?'.  The project to date has included;

  • a review of the relevant literature, 
  • interviews with key stakeholders, 
  • an analysis of the current market, 
  • a knowledge exchange with several international health systems 
  • and several detailed case studies of ACOs in the US – through our partner ICF.

We'll use insights gleaned on the day, from the presentations and the detailed group discussions, to develop and refine the initial design principles further. The working proposition of the principles is available below and we invite you to test these locally and share your views with us.

We’ll be conducting further work in this area and are looking partners who are interesting in working with us to take this forward.  Please get in touch with us here.

Thank you once again to everyone who participated in the summit – we hope you found it as enjoyable as we did and have been able to use insights from the day in your work.



Peter’s presentation includes examples from our recent work on Integrating mental and physical health – you can find out more here.