Examples of open data and transparency in action

Some illustrative uses made of open or transparency data in health and social care are listed below.

CareMetrics provides free to use Health and Social Care information for users of services and their carers, the wider public, and care professionals. It gives users an informative view of adult social care services so that they can see what to expect from their local authority and other service providers.

The Local Government Association has created LG Inform, which pulls together disparate data about local services, including open data from UK local authorities, and provides users with meaningful information about a local area and allows users to review and compare services between authorities using charts, tables and maps. For example, an interactive map shows users the priorities of health and wellbeing boards across England, or visualisations of social care-related quality of life indexes.

The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (SCTS) has collated and published open data about heart surgery carried out in the UK since 2005. Their ‘idata’ application is a free tool for unrestricted online use by clinicians, patients and researchers alike, and allows users to filter and analyse surgery data. The publishing of cardiac surgical outcome data is estimated to have reduced the number of deaths in heart surgeries by up to 1,000 annually. Consultant level treatment outcomes for 10 specialities has since been released (September 2013).

Open GP prescribing data sets from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) were used by National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and combined with open demographic data to publish a report on GP practices. This examined which GPs are early adopters of promising medical innovations.

Open GP prescribing data sets have also been used by open data start-up companies, Mastodon C and Open Healthcare UK, in collaboration with science writer Ben Goldacre, to identify potential savings of £200 million if GPs were to prescribe cheaper generic drugs instead of proprietary drugs and Open Healthcare UK have since been developing a web based tool to support more granular investigation of this data.

Researchers at Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool used open prescription and GP address data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) combined with open Ordnance Survey data and condition incidence data to demonstrate variations in prescribing patterns.

GP Ratings was an application built by FineFettleApps, which collated open data from GP patient surveys and the Office of National Statistics. GP Ratings helps people compare their local GP surgeries and make an informed decision based on a simple rating system. The App has since been withdrawn from the Apple Store but the code for it has been made available as a white label version for re-use.

Health iQ worked with Healthcare for London to develop a specialist stroke service including ambulance access to Hyper-Acute Stroke Units for immediate response. Combining data from the London Ambulance Services with geographic data, they identified the minimum number and optimum location of sites required, helping to facilitate equal access for all Londoners to a hyper-acute stroke unit.

The Digital Catapult Open Health Data Platform has been developed by the Connected Digital Economy Catapult and Mastodon C to demonstrate the economic and service enhancements possible through opening and integrating data by using common standards. The platform turns open data into visualisations and analysis, for example to show the extent of diabetes treatment in the UK.

myhealthlocker is an electronic personal health record for people using mental health services in South London. Service users can collect, store, edit and manage their own heath information, including their GP and hospital records in one place. They can choose what information is shared and who they share it with.

Renal PatientView aims to provide online information about renal patients’ diagnosis, treatment, and their latest test results. Patients can share this information with anyone they want, and view it from anywhere in the world. It provides secure access to blood tests, clinic letters and medicines, helping patients to manage their conditions more effectively.