It is important that we make information about how health services are performing more open and accessible. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it can have a positive effect on the quality of the services delivered.

The good news is there is already a tremendous amount of anonymised health data published openly across a wealth of websites and documents.

The less-good news, and something that gets reported regularly, is how hard it can be to find and use the data that’s out there: it’s spread across numerous locations and in a range of different formats.

In short, the data about how our health services are performing should be easily discoverable, but unless you are an expert in how the health system is structured and/or have lots of spare time on your hands, it’s currently pretty hard.

MyNHS is here to help.

Launched in September 2014, MyNHS was set the task to gather data from across the system into one place so professionals and the public can easily compare the performance of health and care services over a range of measures.

Over the past three years we’ve had lots of feedback on ways to make data more useful and accessible, and in response we will be launching three new pieces of BETA functionality at this year’s Expo.

These are…

  • Time series visualisations so people can see how performance has changed over time
  • Build-your-own dashboard so people can put together a bespoke view of the information that is important to them
  • An open data platform so people can access the underlying data that we hold to develop their open apps, analyses or reports.

Here’s what the time series looks like…

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And here’s the BYO dashboard…

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Last but certainly not least, the open data platform represents a significant step forward towards greater data utility: available at opendata.nhs.uk, the beta platform currently contains data for over 90 of our metrics, in formats that allow developers, commissioners and the public to re-use in their own projects, products and apps.

The announcement of the NHS open data challenge to coincide with the release of the new platform will reward the most creative uses of open health and social care data. We hope that with our data and your ideas we can make real improvements to healthcare services through innovative new insights and digital tools.

These are exciting times in our journey towards greater transparency in health. There is still some way to go and we still have lots to learn so please do get in touch with any feedback.

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