Data is an opportunity lost and that is the real threat.

Taken so long

One of the most valuable things we all have is…

… is what?

Our freedom of expression? A family life? A religion?

What about our data? Is it valuable? You bet!

Your data, on its own… very little value. My data compared with a few other old-geezers, maybe. All our data, together… now you’re talking.

Look at the small print; I bet you’ve acquiesced in Amazon using your purchasing-data. Yer bank uses yer data. Purchasing patterns are sold for loadsamoney. Your mobile phone deal uses your activity-data.

Health data?

We get pretty up-tight about that. There’s a public nervousness. Someone finding out you may have had a termination when you were younger. Treated for a GUM something? A mental health problem? Repeated episodes of whatever?

It’s private, personal. No one’s business.

The NHS has health records going back to 1948. Population health as we call it, gives a priceless window into what makes us sick, ill or injured and why. What fixes us up, what works, what it costs and do we want to do it again.

The NHS has made a number of cack-handed attempts to harness the free energy that our records generate.

The latest; NHSE has announced a contract to create a federated-data-platform to help hosptials run smoother and safer.

The deal is lead by US company, Palantir who’ve a handful of UK consultancies in-tow, to take the edge off the stars and stripes and presumably tell them how the NHS works.

Palantir have, what some regard as a murky-background, working with the CIA and in the technology of warfare.

Their boss, a Trump supporting German-American, stupid enough to describe the British affection for the NHS as ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. He’s rich, entrepreneurial and patently, a numpty.

The British arm of Palantir was quick to run away from the statement.

In the UK Palantir’s run by a co-founder who inherited a few quid from his grandfather and got lucky. He is a dyslexic and got a Dr.phil by extending Parson’s Theory… his name; Alex Karp.

On the telly the other Sunday, in the BBC Kuenessberg show, he looked like a refugee from Woodstock. He’s spooky and a terrible communicator.

But… when it comes to handing big-data, there’s no denying Palantir are very good.

During Covid, almost overnight it was Palantir who lead the work to make it possible for me to walk into the London Excell Centre, give the lady with the iPad, my name and date-of-birth, have a jab, the batch-number, time and date dropped into my GP’s system in Surrey and to later appear on my NHS App.

Palantir’s stock-price fell on the announcement of the FDP.

The value was less than expected; £330m, over 7 years… it’s pretty cheap… for 215 Trusts and forty-odd ICBs to collate and unpick all their data… £180k a year, each.

This is only a platform for secondary care. Primary care data is not involved in the national platform.

All that’s really happening is the current pile of management information will be taken out of the pencil and spreadsheet era, into something that is useful, in one place, can co-relate and as it’s in real-time can be used to forecast, plan and coordinate the performance of the Trust.

FAQs here.

No, it isn’t AI… just a huge depository for machine learning.

It’s not about collecting data.

It’s about connecting it.

Palantir cannot sell or use the data elsewhere. They just provide the software.

Making the use of numbers in real time, to be generative of system efficiency, useful to planners and managers.

In trials, in one Trust a 36% reduction in patient-stays of more than 21 days and freed up almost 10 hours of clinician time every week.

In another; 28% reduction in waiting list through better validation and clinical oversight. Theatre utilisation up from 73% to 86%.

The FDP has clinical support but a mixed reception in some trial Trusts, who are not obliged to adopt the Palantir system.

Unless this plan is to end up like so many other attempts before it, NHSE comm’s need to pull their finger out…

… to quickly reassure a suspicious public their GP health records are not involved, their identity is safe and their passage through secondary care might actually be safer and quicker…

… and, to answer the question, I suspect most of them will ask…

… why has it taken so long?

News and Comment from Roy Lilley
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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.