THE National Health Service was established in 1948 with a principal objective to combat common diseases such as polio and tuberculosis.

While the achievements of the NHS on this front have been tremendous, societal challenges facing healthcare providers today are even more complex, and data analytics has emerged as an essential tool in future-proofing the NHS to cope with those challenges that lie ahead.

An interactive data Cancer Dashboard was launched about a year ago by NHS Digital, Public Health England to provide in-depth information about screening levels and show where they could be improved.

Being able to access up-to-date data is undoubtedly vital to understanding where to focus efforts, measure impact of activity and flag where support might be needed, but it feels like more should be done.

Giving staff a 360-degree view of a patient’s medical history is surely going to improve the effectiveness of care paths, experiences and outcomes across all sectors of the service, so extending the dashboard to include treatment, medical history and quality of life would be a sensible option.

Used correctly, digital innovations have the capacity to address everyday problems and focus healthcare providers on mission-critical activities and improve patient care paths.

While research is key to advancing effective treatment, data analytics are supercharging the effect and, with joined-up practices, harnessing those analytics could achieve a truly integrated healthcare system.