Using data to help save lives

Our NHS is unique. In England it looks after 55 million people, from the time we are born until the end of our lives.

Every time you are seen by your GP, a clinician in a hospital, or a social care provider, a record is kept of your diagnosis, treatment, and progress.

Only when there is a need to do so, organisations will securely share your record with the other healthcare providers involved in your care.

Those caring for you can see your test results, medications, and other important information.

The data that is collected is shared and enables clinicians to make informed decisions about your care, as they will have a more joined-up picture of your health.

More information on how records are securely shared to support your care directly is available at:

The information in our health and care records can also be combined to create a set of data that is invaluable for improving the health and well-being of the population .

It’s not about anyone’s individual data, but about the collective data of millions of us as a population.

This data, from across the whole population, is used to monitor and improve care, and it’s one of the great strengths of our health service.

This includes understanding the needs of the population so care can be planned to meet the specific needs of the people in a particular area and future demand.

Information on large collections of health data, and how they can be safely used, is available in ‘A guide to large datasets‘, published by the Understanding Patient Data organisation.

Information on how the NHS in your area uses data to understand the population’s needs is available at:

Data can also be used to develop life-saving new approaches and treatments by making it easier for approved researchers to securely analyse large amounts of data.

Information on how data can support research, and how confidentiality is protected, is available on the East of England secure data environment website.

Underpinning all of this is the NHS’s commitment to protecting the security and confidentiality of this important information.

Information on how data is kept secure and confidential is available from the Understanding Patient Data website.

The NHS’s vision is that the public have confidence in how their data will be handled and are happy for it to be used to improve the care that they and others receive.

We want individuals to be confident that their data is being handled safely and securely.  We want them to have a good understanding of how their data is being used, both for individual care and for improving population health, planning, innovation and research; and that they have access to their own health and care data, and the power to choose how it is used.

More information on how the NHS uses data to help save lives is available at Home – NHS England Digital