What the FDP means for you

Data is a core part of how the NHS delivers care, it’s at the heart of transforming services and improving outcomes for patients; using it well saves lives.

Here are some examples of how the NHS Federated Data Platform could be used to benefit you:

Elective recovery

The NHS Federated Data Platform will help to get patients treated as quickly as possible, reducing the backlog of people waiting for appointments or treatments, including maximising capacity, supporting patient readiness and using innovation to streamline care.

Local teams will be better able to prioritise waiting lists, manage theatre capacity and identify staffing needs. It will help local teams make more effective use of their resources such as theatres, ensuring that all available slots are used to treat patients and reduce the elective backlog.

It will provide more choice and speed up appointment booking. If a theatre slot becomes available at a nearby hospital, patients with the greatest need can be offered an appointment earlier. Decisions will still be agreed between patients and the NHS staff caring for them, but the platform will help everyone to understand the situation in the local area.

Currently, the staff responsible for scheduling theatre operations for patients need to log into multiple systems to see who should be booked in, who is on shift to perform operations and where there are available theatre slots in the hospital.

The NHS Federated Data Platform will increase visibility of this information into one place so those scheduling appointments can easily see where theatres slots that weren’t previously being utilised are available. I feel better knowing that theatre slots aren’t going to waste and that I will receive my treatment as quickly as possible.

The team at my hospital will also be able to give me more notice for when my appointment is so I can plan this around my life. If an appointment became available at a nearby hospital sooner, I could be offered this as an alternative and receive my treatment earlier.

Care coordination (joining up care)

The NHS Federated Data Platform will help to ensure that health and care organisations all have access to the information they need to support the patient, enabling care to be coordinated across NHS services.

It will help to connect organisations who need to work together to provide a good service for patients. This means that those in charge of a person’s care will be able to see what that person’s requirements and care needs are, reducing time spent in hospital when a patient is medically well enough to leave. Doctors, nurses, carers and other health professionals will still be the people who decide what care is needed, but the platform will help them make better, more informed decisions.

I’m not being discharged from hospital even though I am well enough to leave. The hospital has spent a lot of time calling different care homes to see if there is a spare bed.

The NHS Federated Data Platform will make it easier for the team looking after me in hospital, because they will be able to see where there are available beds in a care home within my local community or a space on a virtual ward. My doctor and I can then decide whether I should be discharged into a care home, or whether I should return home to be cared for virtually on a virtual ward.

Vaccination and immunisation

The NHS Federated Data Platform will help to ensure that there is fair and equal access, and uptake of vaccinations across different communities.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme – the largest vaccination programme in NHS history – is delivered using a data platform (purchased to specifically support our pandemic response). The data platform is used to manage the vaccine supply and ensure there is adequate stock available for the number of vaccinations booked in at each vaccination site. The platform can also track the number of vaccinations administered across England by geography, gender, ethnicity, disability and deprivation.

This meant that local teams could act quickly to work with communities that weren’t accessing vaccines. A federated data platform will enable us to continue to improve the way we deliver vaccinations and immunisations, not just for COVID-19 but also for flu and other diseases.

As a Muslim, I was concerned that the COVID-19 vaccine would invalidate my fast during Ramadan, as were many of my friends and family. By using the COVID-19 data platform, my local NHS team noticed that there was low uptake of vaccines within the Muslim community which put my community at higher risk of severe illness. The NHS worked with my local mosque to run a pop-up clinic to encourage uptake of the vaccine amongst our community.

The NHS Federated Data Platform will help the NHS in England to better understand trends in vaccine uptake. This means that the NHS can consider how services are delivered to make it easier for communities to take up vaccines they are eligible for, for example, this could be making services available at times and locations that better suit their lifestyle.

Population health management (planning NHS services)

The NHS Federated Data Platform will help to help local Trusts, Integrated Care Boards (on behalf of the integrated care systems) and NHS England proactively plan services that meet the needs of their population. For example, how many people could be affected by an illness like diabetes or asthma and what help might support those people; even before any illness develops. 

Supply chain management (getting the best value for the NHS)

The NHS Federated Data Platform will help the NHS put resources where they are needed most and buy smarter so that we get the best value for money.

It will make it easier to see where critical supplies (such as protective masks, medication and equipment) are, how much is available, and where there are shortages. This means that items can be moved between hospitals or allocated to areas that need them the most. It also means the NHS can track how much needs to be purchased overall and buy in bulk, which will save everyone time and money.

Many hospitals don’t have a system to manage records of supplies. This means that if one department runs out of out of something, they order more without knowing if another department has more.

When I was in hospital, my ward ran out of bed pans, and there was a delay while they had to order more. They later found out that a ward on another floor had plenty spare. The NHS Federated Data Platform would make sure that this situation happens less often. It will help hospitals in my local region share supplies with each other too.

Strict access controls

The NHS Federated Data Platform has strict access controls to make sure that only people who need to see patient data as part of their role in, or working on behalf of, the NHS will have access. As happens currently, there will be clear rules on who has access, what they can see, and what they can do. Only authorised users will be granted access to data for approved purposes. Access to data will never be provided for marketing or insurance purposes.

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

Read more about how we are protecting privacy and confidentiality.

Further information