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£3.4m data drive to aid care home residents at risk of COVID-19

Posted: 5th June 2020

We are helping vulnerable care home residents at risk of COVID-19 with our support of a multi-partner health initiative in the North which aims to improve services through better use of data. 

The initiative, HDR UK North, is led by the University of Liverpool, with £1.2m investment from Health Data Research (HDR) UK and £2.2m from partner institutions including Yorkshire and Humber AHSNIt will focus initially on monitoring deterioration in care home residents and include projects that benefit some of the most vulnerable people. 

We will be supporting the programme in several ways, through the promotion and use of the Yorkshire and Humber Care Record across the region, in population-focussed data driven by research, and through our work with the DATA-CAN Data Innovation Hub. DATA–CAN is a multi-million-pound national project to collect and use cancer data in which this region has played a leading part. The founding partners, representing Yorkshire and the Humber, include the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.   

One of the major challenges for the partnership is addressing the issue of frailty, which affects 10 per cent of people aged over 65, rising to 25-50 per cent of people aged over 85 years. This costs the UK £15bn and is likely to grow due to the ageing UK population.  

Dr Neville Young, Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, said: 

How we look after an ageing population, at home and in the care home setting, are clearly emerging as an important challenge in the national health picture as we tackle not only the current COVID-19 situation, but look forward to ensuring the older and valued members of our society are cared for in an effective and sustainable manner. 

We have an important and evolving portfolio of work addressing challenges in frailty and the care homes sector in this region and are delighted to be involved in this programme. 

We are also pleased to be involved in the Northern Better Care Partnership, part of the national Health Data Research UK programme, working alongside a host of digitally outstanding hospital and universities using data to improve the care of our citizens in the region.  

We are pleased that so much of our ongoing work will now contribute to the success of this project, and the future development of the programme. We recognise this is a key milestone for regional success, one that will enable the delivery of high quality, digitally enabled, data driven care in the North which has the potential to deliver significant benefits for elderly patients in our region living with frailty.” 

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Director of HDR UK, said:

We serve over 16 million people in the North where the rates of poverty, morbidity, premature mortality and poorer clinical outcomes are higher than in other regions. As our population gets older, frailty and more widely, multimorbidity, exert huge system pressures. 

This partnership will help us to use all available data and advanced analytical techniques to gain actionable insights for optimising delivery of care for those who need it most.” 

Professor Simon Ball, Medical Director at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and Research Director at Health Data Research UK, added: 

“As healthcare professionals we make hundreds of decisions a week with our patients.  

In doing so we aim to decide what will work best for each individual. Electronic healthcare records offer the opportunity to combine patients’ data with information on best practice, so that we can reliably deliver high quality care in complex settings and pressured environments. 

The following organisations are members of The Better Care North Partnership, part of HDR UK North: 

  • From Yorkshire and the Humber:  Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, University of Leeds, University of Sheffield, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System  
  • Partners from the rest of the region include: County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Lancaster University, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust, University of Manchester, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts, Newcastle University, Salford Royal Foundation Trust, and Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. 

The Northern Health Science Alliance, a grouping of 24 universities, NHS trusts and Academic Health Science Networks across the North of England, supported the bid through project management across a broad coalition of partners and in engagement with the NHS. 

The partners include the four Northern Academic Health Science Networks – ourselves, Innovation Agency for the North West Coast of England, AHSN North East and North Cumbria, and Health Innovation Manchester, plus researchers from Durham University.