Future focused primary care: How South Yorkshire ICB is using data to drive digital innovation

Creating efficiencies is a key priority for primary care, but how can we use existing data to identify which GPs and pharmacies are leading the way in offering innovative services?

South Yorkshire ICB wanted to better understand the primary care landscape across their area to see how patients are accessing services and using digital tools available to them.

Data mapping and analysis tool SHAPE Local was used to visualise key datasets, allowing decision makers within the ICB to identify best practice and look for opportunities to streamline services, share learnings and plan future delivery.

SHAPE Local integrated existing information with data from South Yorkshire ICB to layer maps at the click of a button.

A key driver for digital innovation across the NHS is for patients to be able to manage their own appointments and prescriptions, so the team behind SHAPE were able to show how many patients registered at each GP practice were registered for online services and which of them were accessing it. This data allows the ICB to pinpoint areas that are leading the way and identify those that could make further efficiencies. Online GP services were also mapped against measures of deprivation to understand uptake and utilisation in the context of digital literacy and health inequalities.

They likewise mapped pharmacies within the area and showed which are offering a community pharmacy consultation service to help reduce waiting times and unnecessary GP appointments. They also mapped sign-up and activity for the community pharmacy hypertension-finding service and compared this to areas of deprivation. Given the relationship between socio-economic determinants and cardio-vascular disease, it was important to drive sign-up in areas with the greatest need, and to identify sites with high or low levels of activity to share learning and target support.

After identifying the high performers, details about the workforce across the area could be used to see where training opportunities are available for future talent, so the ICB can target their resources where they’ll have most impact.

The ICB has been able to make the most of existing data to better understand how its populations in different areas are accessing services, driving forward digital and creating a service fit for the future.

Nick Germain, Primary Care Manager at NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said:

“We’ve got all this data at our fingertips, but there’s so much that it’s hard to see the full picture, or from a spreadsheet to see how contractors compare with their geographic neighbours. Being able to bring everything together and visualise it on a map makes it much easier to understand and allows us to identify our innovators who are making the most of their resources, and those who need extra support. It really makes us confident that we can make decisions for the future that will really matter.”