Governments, public bodies and large organisations have begun to release data, now freely available, to use in order to develop resources which make crucial improvements to communities. In terms of the UK’s NHS, the hope is that by releasing data information can be used in a number of ways to improve the way people use healthcare systems. The availability of this open data can help care providers, patients and researchers make better decisions, develop new innovations and identify inefficiencies.
In 2015 the NHS began to release more open data after Prime Minister, David Cameron, called for more transparent governments and, so far, it seems the NHS has been fully committed to supporting the need for openness.
Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s National Director for patients and information said; “The English healthcare system is already one of the most transparent in the world – publishing more information than any other country. But these new measures will transform outcomes, put citizens at the centre of everything we do and will provide the means by which NHS England will be at the cutting edge of medical science.”
By releasing health data and structuring it for usability and computability, governments and healthcare organisations can use open data to improve the quality of care, lower healthcare costs and facilitate patient choice.
NHS England has a responsibility for developing policies around the open data agendas. This allows for recognition on varied and unacceptable practice and create a revolution on transparency. It also makes it easier for patients and citizens to actively participate in the quality of their local health care organisations. This is achieved by the NHS working closely with stakeholders, offering advice and support in publishing open data and working in more transparent ways.
england.nhs.uk states that open data could have the following benefits:
- Accountability – The use of data to hold healthcare organisations and provides accountable for treatment outcomes.
- Choice – Providing open data to help patients make informed choices from among the healthcare options available to them.
- Efficiency – Improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of delivering healthcare.
- Outcomes – Improving treatment outcomes by using open data to make the results of different treatments, healthcare organisations and providers work more transparent.
- Customer Service – Using open data to educate patients and their families and make healthcare institutions more responsive.
- Economic Growth and Innovation – Providing open data that can help fuel new healthcare companies and initiatives.
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