What this means for integrated care systems

A ‘data platform’ refers to software which will enable NHS organisations to bring together operational data – currently stored in separate systems – to support staff to access the information they need in one safe and secure environment so that they are better able to coordinate, plan and deliver high quality care.

A ‘federated’ data platform means that every hospital trust and integrated care system (ICS) will have their own platform which can connect and collaborate with other data platforms as a “federation” making it easier for health and care organisations to work together.

A federated data platform for ICS services

A digitised, connected NHS can deliver services more effectively and efficiently, with people at the centre.

A federated data platform will be a critical operational tool for trusts and ICSs that will:

  • Connect siloed systems to support staff to access the information they need in one safe and secure environment.
  • Provide better visibility of their data, with more opportunity to query it, and the ability to audit the data to understand how things have been managed in the past to improve lessons learnt.
  • Provide the insights needed to understand the current and future needs of their populations so ICSs can tailor early preventative interventions and target health and care support.
  • Enable the effective coordination of care between local health and care organisations and services and reduce the number of long stays in hospital.
  • Deliver the capability to develop digital tools that address their most pressing operational challenges and enhance their ability to make informed and effective decisions.
  • Enable the rapid scaling and sharing of innovative tools and applications that have been developed at a local level – in a secure way – supporting levelling up agenda and reducing variation across England, whilst still retaining local controls for data access.

The goal is to give health and care providers the information they need at their fingertips, while maintaining the highest standards of confidentiality.

The platform will not replace existing local systems used for clinical care or data aggregation and curation – it will be used in conjunction with existing assets and provide the infrastructure to support collaboration and innovation.

Federation means that each trust and ICS has their own platform for which they are the data controller. Access for each platform will be governed and managed by each individual organisation.

We are not mandating use of nationally procured software. There are already some great examples of trusts and ICSs that have their own data platforms that are successfully supporting local leaders to make decisions that improve patient care, staff experience and health outcomes.

A federated data platform is designed to build on, complement and connect with pre-existing systems and platforms which are often unable to integrate with each other and do not all meet the same standards for privacy or security.

We will support organisations to level up at their own pace – we have developed adoption patterns that align with differentiation of digital maturity so that all areas of the country can benefit and have the support they need to do so.

Early evidence from pilot sites shows significant and measurable benefits being realised. The roll out of this technology across the NHS in England will support levelling up and embed the highest standards of data access and use – all while improving patient care and experience and reducing burden on frontline staff.

Next steps and how to get involved

We have developed an ICS Data Navigator Tool to support ICSs to understand how their current analytics investment and aspirations can be integrated with or fulfilled using the federated data platform.

ICS Data Navigator Tool

The interactive tool enables ICSs to:

  1. View capabilities, products and solutions that will be available on the federated data platform.
  2. Document your existing data and analytics initiatives.
  3. Define how and where you will adopt ready built products and solutions on the platform.
  4. Share your learnings and capabilities with other teams across the NHS.

The tool will help ICSs to transition to joined up approaches to analytics, empower local voices to drive the product design and pipeline for analytics products, and accelerate the rollout of proven analytic products and solutions to enable you to deliver on your ICS’s priorities and objectives.

For more information about the federated data platform or to register your interest in the ICS Data Navigator Tool please contact the team by emailing: england.fdp@nhs.net.

Further information