US and UK Data Analysts Convene Virtually to Address Imperatives, Share Best Practices

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Public health informaticists, data scientists, epidemiologists and data strategists convened virtually in December 2020 for the second meeting of the US-UK Data Analyst Exchange Program, coordinated by the HIMSS Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Chief Technology Officer and the United Kingdom’s NHS Digital.

Exchange participants, who work at state and local public health levels, collaborated to identify approaches to health data science projects in addressing imperatives and the determinants of health. The week’s activities prompted those involved to bring new best practices and ideas back to their own work in their home countries.

Virtual sessions included opportunities for the organizations to discuss how they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the virus’ impact on workflows and the healthcare system; how to transform public health data systems; how data impacts public health decision making; the Immunization Gateway Project; and the Digital Health Indicator.

Key Learnings

The program’s analysts came away from the exchange with several key learnings and reminders to combat complex local to global health and human services issues.

  • To make the best use of the data at their disposal, analysts should translate that data to create meaningful future-focused intelligence and optimization.
  • In presenting results and dashboards, analysts should balance accessibility and readability, ensuring information is easy to digest.
  • State level analysis ensures information is relevant and actionable to local teams.
  • Standards are important.
  • Analysis should include contextual data, not only the system’s own data.
  • Look to industries that have been collecting and using data for years.

Future Collaborations

In addition to key takeaways, the exchange participants solidified several ideas for future international analyst collaboration.

Particularly around addressing COVID-19, analysts could compare the analysis that has been undertaken to date; evolve shielded patient list and risk stratification; monitoring the administration of vaccines; monitor the long-term impact of COVID-19, integrate historic COVID-19 data into future analysis; and mitigate misreporting of results;

Other collaborations could include:

Comparing open data sources and identifying opportunities to coordinate on the data released and its granularity to enable shared learnings

  • Better informing one another of the priorities for data linkage
  • Collaborate around the child digital health record
  • Developing personalized healthcare

The next Data Analyst Exchange is scheduled to take place in June 2021. Learn more about the HIMSS Foundation and how you can help support its work.

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