AHPs and data: A year (and a bit!) on

DataJust over a year ago, the first AHPs and data blog was released. Although much of what was said then is just as relevant today,  there have been developments with many working in Scotland to improve the knowledge, skills, scope and use of data by AHPs. So what has changed since then?

The new AHP national strategy, Active and Independent Living Program (AILP) was launched at the NHS Scotland event in June this year. It is a wide ranging document with a number of key themes aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland. It includes a matrix of measurable items of how AHP services can impact health and wellbeing, a number of which are reliant on service-level data. It also includes one measurable item about the number of territorial boards in Scotland who have fully implemented AHP Operational Measures (AHPOMs). Having this standardised data at a national level will allow us to use the data for service improvements, to compare appropriate services, to define the AHP contribution to health and social care delivery, to strengthen business cases for investment in AHP services and workforce, to explain the pressures on AHP services, and for AHP data to be included in the wider public health arena.

The AHPOMs project is being run by a project team at NSS, overseen by a steering group comprising of a range of local, regional and national AHP clinicians, managers and subject matter experts from health and social care. So why are we doing this work? If services are serious about improvement and transformation, then at heart of this, is data. There is also a real need in today’s world for services to be able to demonstrate their worth and the outcomes their users achieve. There is also a major requirement for us to have robust information about our workforce so that we can ensure we have the right staff with the right skills to meet the needs of our service users. The work is being supported by Scottish Government. Earlier this year, we published a consultation document which was widely circulated and the focus of 6 national workshops. Over 200 AHPs and connected staff attended these workshops and the actual consultation stimulated 121 responses to the consultation. This allowed us to revise the dataset which was published in September. The high level of participation in this project to date is reassuring that AHPs understand how important this work is and the need to collect data, and most importantly, use its power in support of improvement.

DatasetAs we previously reported, the dataset was tested last year in two pilot NHS boards but this next phase sees that extending to 6 territorial boards, 5 health and social care partnerships and a special board. Phase 1 showed that data completeness was different in the two boards so we needed to understand more about the current state of Scottish AHP data before implementation. It also emphasised the need to explore social care AHP data and include all professions under the AHP banner.

From these data extracts a series of anonymised data outputs will be shared with appropriate groups as part of testing how an AHP Activity Dashboard (AHPAD) might look. The current phase will end in April 2018 with a business case for further developments, likely to include an implementation plan, being submitted to Scottish Government.

Outside of that specific project, AHPs continue to have considerable impact on the data landscape. All NHS boards are now contributing some data in relation to the MSK 4-week waiting times target and although very few are meeting it, work is well underway to transform services to move closer towards achieving it. The MSK community are also at fully engaged with the transformation of primary care. A recent WebEx reinforced just how effective MSK Physiotherapists have been as first point of contact in primary care. The Children and Young Peoples Group, under the leadership of Pauline Beirne continue to use data at the heart of their drive to get it right for every child, giving our youngsters the best chance to learn and develop. And there are many more examples of local, regional and national improvements all driven by data.

The AHP team at NSS has recently changed with Laura Cameron from NHS Fife coming in to replace Fiona Millar. Fiona is still heavily involved in the digital world and has moved to the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare team and will continue to feed into the overall AHP efforts we are making in terms of increasing our use of data.

The AHP team at NSS continue to be involved in the existing national programs as well as linking with colleagues in the rest of the UK and further afield to ensure that Scottish AHPs remain at the forefront of data, informatics and digital health research, innovation and improvement. These include membership of the Professional Records Standard Body (PRSB) and National AHP Informatics Strategic Taskforce (NAHPIST). These groups help to bring like-minded people together to drive data standards in to practice as well as ensuring that digital health and care is embedded in research, policy and strategy.

Data WagonIt seems that more and more AHPs are starting to jump on the big data bandwagon but there is always room for more! The more clinicians we have with improved digital knowledge and skills supporting the digital clinical leads the better. It won’t be long before we have national AHP data being published and then the real work to demonstrate the value of data will start. We will need to be understanding and using these nuggets of knowledge but without a doubt, Scottish AHPs are really starting to get ahead of the digital curve.

#eNMAHP #AHPOMs #AilpScot #dataleaders

Euan McComiskie (@EMAHPInfo)

AHP eHealth Advisor, NHS National Services Scotland (NSS)

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