Ground-breaking technology scheme set to improve health and wellness in Bradford

Bradford people are set to benefit from a ground-breaking project that will use data and technology in a revolutionary new way to help improve patient care and ultimately save lives.

Through the £20 million Health North “Connected Health Cities” (CHC) plan, health and academic experts from across the North of England are working together to ensure local services are better able to tackle issues like unplanned hospital admissions for patients with chronic diseases.

Locally, Connecting Yorkshire (cYorkshire) has been set up to develop the programmes covering Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield.  cYorkshire will use existing healthcare data, carefully protected to ensure patient confidentiality, to generate new insights into how patients at risk can be identified earlier, be better supported to care for themselves and make better, more targeted use of community-based care.

Existing and under-used health data will aimed at a number of projects – for example, to help reduce the number of falls experienced by older people, helping to spot childhood obesity at an earlier stage, and reduce unnecessary emergency care admissions.

The project will also work to reduce the amount of time it takes for new medical technologies and clinical techniques to be used in local areas by exploring how quickly evidence of their effectiveness can be given to decision-makers.

Along with other participating health communities, the Bradford plan will seek the help of local patients to make sure health needs are being addressed by the project and citizen juries will be set up to understand more about the use of health data in research.

Local general practitioner Dr Mutaz Aldawoud is the clinical board lead for technology for Bradford Districts CCG and a leader of cYorkshire.  He says:  “We live in a world of targeted advertising, social media and connected devices so the idea of not using existing data to improve health service delivery is something that comes as a surprise to most of the patients to whom I speak.  By being open and working in partnership with the public, Connected Health Cities enables the trustworthy re-use of health data for patients’ benefit.

“Bradford has a unique potential to connect the data held by health and social care to rapidly improve people’s health and wellbeing, as well as the services offered.

“Because all of the districts’ general practices, and now social care, use the same information system - SystmOne – we can make the data work harder and more smartly for the benefit of local people. 

Born in Bradford’s Dr John Wright is also a leader of cYorkshire.  He says:  “The NHS has moved swiftly from paper records to digital records.  At present the data from these digital records is in pockets across the NHS.  Connecting Health Cities will bring this data together, to join the dots and better understand patterns of patient care.  This richer understanding of the health and care needs of our population will help us to improve the lives of our patients.

“At the heart of what we’re doing is the emphasis on patient confidentiality, and we have great expertise within the NHS.  One of the key features of Connected Health Cities is that we will ensure the highest standards of patient confidentiality.”

Health North is being developed by the Northern Health Science Alliance, a health partnership that spans the region and brings together the North’s leading university medical schools, NHS teaching hospitals and academic health science networks.