The next generation of rock stars – but not as we know them

13 March, 2020 | By Emma Wray

Over 100 colleagues from the NHS, local authorities, universities, and police from across Wessex joined forces in February to celebrate the launch of the Wessex Data & Analytics Centre of Excellence - an initiative to empower data and analytics professionals across health and social care partners and beyond.

The evolution of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) builds upon existing strong foundations - the Dorset Insight & Intelligence Service (DiiS) and the Population Health Management team in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It is supported by Wessex Care Records, the region’s nationally funded Local Health and Care Record (LHCR) programme, designed to join up patient information across borders and use its potential for population health planning and informed, personalised care.

Described by Richard Samuel, Head of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), as the "rock stars of the next decade, helping to deliver the NHS’ Long Term Plan," analytics and data teams across Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight shared their vision to ‘turn information into intelligence’ across the region.

Working in partnership, the DiiS and WCR have enabled these teams to come together in the name of cross-Wessex collaboration and the CoE aims to equip our analysts, informatics teams and developers with the skills needed to make best use of the data and tools available. It will facilitate the sharing of best practice, knowledge and ideas, and encourage co-working on projects, as well as increase staff satisfaction and retention, raising the profile of careers in health and care analytics.

One theme that caught the audience’s attention was the ‘thinking environment’. Led by Neil Tape, Chief Data Officer at University Hospital Southampton, he focused on the creation of a working culture conducive to a “a wholehearted, unthreatened search for good ideas” and shared an agenda he uses to bring the best out of everyone in meetings.

"The uniqueness in this approach is that we recognise in order to deliver the priorities of the NHS for the next decade and beyond we need to be in the knowledge driving seat," said Livvy Williams, Business Change Manager for the DiiS who is leading the development of the Centre of Excellence.

“We all know that data is incredibly powerful and by combining our workforce talent within the whole Wessex region and capitalising on models of best practice already in place across the ICS and STP we can understand how hindsight and insight now leads to foresight. The CoE is therefore a game-changer for improving patient outcomes.”

Dr Craig Wakeham, a champion for the use of information and knowledge, said: “I’m passionate about how they can be used more effectively to improve understanding about our patients and the wider population and help us to act wisely. The Centre of Excellence is a fantastic way to harness our collective skills and develop that knowledge to improve the patient experience and support health and care professionals to deliver targeted care.”

Astrid Fairclough, WCR’s Programme Director, said: “The Wessex Data & Analytics Centre of Excellence demonstrates what the Wessex LHCR is all about – making sure we have the people and culture at the heart of our system, to make sure we can get the most intelligence and insight from the top-notch systems we are getting in the region. I’m excited to see how, by investing in our people as well as infrastructure, we can continue the digital transformation of health and care locally and over time, advise others going through this nationally. I wish the CoE success and look forward to working with them.