NHS Digital announced on the 15th July a move to collect data from adult social care in order to assist research into coronavirus in care settings. The aim of the work is to inform research into the virus and provide guidance into factors such as service planning and improve quality of care.
The research looks to be a good idea. It will use existing data within systems provided by members of the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA), joining up data silos and giving a more comprehensive view of the threat COVD-19 presents to people in care. The data will be anonymised in line with COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020, mitigating concerns about identifiable information being present.
If this project is able to provide accurate reporting and help improve and focus treatment and care then it potentially save many lives. The care industry is still heavily paper-oriented so this can also be seen as an illustration why digital data can make a huge difference to care efficiency and quality.
From the information available it appears the work will produce analysis for those involved to study and then decide on appropriate action. Which begs the question; why not look to become more proactive?
From our perspective, we believe incorporating machine learning into the scope of the project would be a big step towards control of the virus. Instead of monitoring and reporting on data, AI and Machine learning would provide advance warning on factors before they manifest themselves. This gives carers and health agencies valuable time to focus their services, improve planning and delivery and, ultimately, save lives.