NWC CHC - Professional Engagement, Training and Education

The NWC CHC team successfully developed and delivered new training modules and accredited courses and supported postgraduate level applied research studies in data science and data driven improvement. 


One of the key workstreams in the NWC was to support the development of a greater understanding of how data could be used to inform decisions within the workforce in health and social care. This was specifically focussed on enhancing the use of data, supporting the integration of digital health into service transformation and to develop a more advanced knowledge of data science. In collaboration with local organisations, the team successfully developed and delivered new training modules, four PhDs, accredited courses and a postgraduate level applied research studies in data science, as well as a number of informal learning opportunities. How NWC CHC enhanced capacity in the region:

  • Analysts at our infrastructure delivery partner, AIMES, were developed and upskilled in their understanding of NHS data through their contact with the two universities and NWC CHC analysts.

  • An NHS data analyst was seconded to the NWC CHC Data Laboratory at the University of Liverpool for the duration of the project.

  • NHS Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA) analysts worked closely with the data lab to understand how to evaluate their improvement work in alcohol using routinely collected data.

  • Hartree Data Scientists worked with the NWC CHC Data Laboratory team in Liverpool to develop and deliver predictive models in health (ARLD) and build usable tools for front-line clinicians.

  • Four PhD students studied applied research in data science and worked closely with NHS teams, and under supervision at Lancaster University.

  • Clinical placements were developed for doctors to work with the data lab team at the University of Liverpool to learn how to apply data science techniques to analytics on care pathways.

  • Training sessions from NWC CHC statisticians were delivered on several occasions at conferences and quarterly meetings to North West business informatics staff (attendance at each meeting was over 30 people).

Training frameworks, training and accredited courses

  • Working with the North West Skills Development Network, NWC CHC explored the skills and needs of analytics and informatics professionals in the NWC region and developed a Business Informatics Skills Framework (BISF). This framework was created to help healthcare informatics professionals develop and progress their careers.

  • The Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice (Evidence-Based Commissioning) was created to provide accredited qualifications and delivered by Lancaster University’s Centre for Training and Development (CETAD). The year-long ‘Evidence Champions’ Programme was delivered to staff in a range of sectors and roles, including clinicians, data analysts, commissioners and quality leads from across the NWC. A number of staff attending the course went on to gain promotions as a result of their project work.

  • A NWC CHC Intelligence Dissemination Survey was used to provide information on the nature of operational intelligence delivery and dissemination within health and care organisations. It also identified how NWC CHC can support staff working within those structures. These findings informed the direction for the tools being generated by the NWC CHC Data Laboratory Team. The NWC NIHR Applied Research Collaboration has now included a digital programme which will build on research themes developed in CHC.

  • A six-month digital coaching programme was delivered by the Innovation Agency’s Coaching Academy to health and care professionals to enable better understanding and use of digital technologies in care delivery. The programme - ‘Using Data from Digital Technology to Improve Health’ - provided practical skills and tools for attendees who wanted to adopt and deploy digital technology for the benefit of their patients and clients. The programme was a mixture of action learning workshops, group coaching to support learning, reflection, resilience and personal growth.

Training frameworks, training and accredited courses

  • Working with the North West Skills Development Network, NWC CHC explored the skills and needs of analytics and informatics professionals in the NWC region and developed a Business Informatics Skills Framework (BISF). This framework was created to help healthcare informatics professionals develop and progress their careers.

  • The Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice (Evidence-Based Commissioning) was created to provide accredited qualifications and delivered by Lancaster University’s Centre for Training and Development (CETAD). The year-long ‘Evidence Champions’ Programme was delivered to staff in a range of sectors and roles, including clinicians, data analysts, commissioners and quality leads from across the NWC. A number of staff attending the course went on to gain promotions as a result of their project work.

  • A NWC CHC Intelligence Dissemination Survey was used to provide information on the nature of operational intelligence delivery and dissemination within health and care organisations. It also identified how NWC CHC can support staff working within those structures. These findings informed the direction for the tools being generated by the NWC CHC Data Laboratory Team. The NWC NIHR Applied Research Collaboration has now included a digital programme which will build on research themes developed in CHC.

  • A six-month digital coaching programme was delivered by the Innovation Agency’s Coaching Academy to health and care professionals to enable better understanding and use of digital technologies in care delivery. The programme - ‘Using Data from Digital Technology to Improve Health’ - provided practical skills and tools for attendees who wanted to adopt and deploy digital technology for the benefit of their patients and clients. The programme was a mixture of action learning workshops, group coaching to support learning, reflection, resilience and personal growth.

Postgraduate Education Four PhD students based at Lancaster University carried out applied research projects on clinical care pathways in the North West. Project 1. Real-time mapping of COPD emergency admissions, by Olatunji Johnson

  • Investigated methods of data-linkage between HES and other relevant health data sources, for example, socio-demographic small-area indices, general practice prescribing patterns and weather station networks.

  • Developed methods of visualising admissions data (socio-temporal analysis) to support decision-making at the point of care for COPD.

  • Worked closely with a clinician at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and identified areas of high rate of presentation and characteristics of place and/or person that contribute to the risk of emergency COPD admission in this population.

  • Developed a predictive statistical model using a combination of socio-economic and environmental variables to predict areas with likely high incidence of COPD emergency admission.

Project 2. Understanding patient data coordination in alcohol care pathways, by Nicola Platt

  • Improved understanding of the multiple sources of data, how it is shared amongst the various teams throughout the patient’s journey, and data coordination across the many health and social care interfaces within a pathway.

  • Interviewed a range of care providers (including hospital and community workers), health information professionals (including IT specialists) and patients who manage and use patient data.

  • Findings support the development of new approaches to ensure that healthcare professionals get the right information about the right patient in the right place at the right time.

Project 3. The role of data supported decision-making technology in respiratory care, by Helena Tendedez

  • Partnered with clinical staff and designed a new innovative system enabling clinicians to have a more meaningful view of clinical data on COPD patients through a dashboard.

  • Designs were informed by research on the challenges of using data-driven support systems in practice, with a focus on a dashboard for COPD patients. The final design was for secondary care and community care staff, with emerging promising opportunities for primary care staff.

  • The final dashboard has been released as a prototype with clinical teams exploring how to embed the system as part of daily working practice.

Project 4.  Consent and data permission management in health data infrastructures and systems, by Victoria Neumann

  • Explored designing secure systems for data sharing in relation to values of consent, such as privacy, trust, or patient/public attitudes.

  • Areas of interest were the design of interoperable consent models and observing the development of the supporting technical frameworks in relation to specific biomedical research projects within NWC CHC.

  • New insights were gained from research, industry and information governance perspectives through qualitative and quantitative research, closely aligned to topics such as trust, identity and privacy in future pervasive computing environments.

  • Research supports the development of a set of design approaches, recommendations and develop tools to model and support consent for a variety of healthcare settings and systems.

  • New research funding has been obtained through EPSRC funding in partnership with the University of Manchester to extend this theme at Lancaster University.


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