women inspecting
man inspecting

Lack of joined up data and insight at place

Overcoming barriers to delivery
Barriers to delivery



All sites engaged in this programme recognised the value of high-quality data in supporting integration. They agreed that data is a vital part of running effective health and care services. Used correctly, the latest digital tools can give frontline teams live information to support better decision-making and give leaders greater understanding of service challenges and opportunities, to support and effectively prioritise resources.

However, a lack of joined up data and insight that is trusted and meaningful to all partners had been a challenge faced by several sites.

When implementing new integrated ways of working, it was found that leaders in systems that understand performance and outcomes are consequently able to understand if the changes are achieving the high-level success measures and give operational teams and managers a more real-time view of performance to inform decision-making.


“The team has responded much better to a measure of ‘how many people did we support back to their own home this week’, rather than ‘how many assessments did we complete’–it’s clearly linked to outcomes and means more to the team.”

Operations director, Community Provider

What is the reality? The challenges being felt by local systems

Many ICBs or local systems have put significant effort into establishing data and digital strategies and responding to national assurance requirements. However, those engaged in this programme often reflected on how this is yet to translate into truly useful insights and information that is used every day, with some feeling a long way off a ‘single version of the truth’ that is trusted across the place. Challenges being felt by local systems included:


Systems and data

  • Interoperability: partners have different data flows, and local reports may be built in different ways with contrasting interpretations, showing inconsistent impressions of performance. There are varying levels of digital maturity across systems and partner organisations.
  • Place-based teams often do not have access to data at the right level to demonstrate outcomes tied to a specific initiative.
  • Linked data sets are not always available and creating them requires aligning information governance.

Objective and useful information

  • Systems often lack a single source of truth that can be accepted by all partners, to make decisions on priorities.
  • Without the right level of visibility, debate can focus on anecdote and perception, especially across different partners, rather than based on objective evidence.
  • Data gathering is often designed to generate high level oversight measures. These do not necessarily reach or drill down to measures that support day to day ways of working for teams.
  • Data isn’t always “live” and is often reported with a lag, which reduces its value for operational decision-making.

Capacity, capability, and culture

  • There can be a divide between digital, data and technology (DDaT) teams and operational or clinical teams, with tools and dashboards made without input from frontline teams.
  • Digital tools may have been built or procured without strong engagement with operational teams, leading to gaps in understanding and missed opportunities to harness their capabilities. Focus is often on large scale data schemes, such as joint patient records or data lakes and infrastructure, without necessarily having clarity regarding how those capabilities will be used on the ground to support improved outcomes.
  • Business Intelligence (BI) teams are often stretched given the increased appetite for data locally, as well as responding to the national data agenda and mandatory reporting.

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