Enabling Data Architecture Impact Assessment Survey - Commissioners

Closed 12 Jul 2019

Opened 30 May 2019


Data provides a rich resource for the NHS to support policy and treatments, enable effective oversight and identify efficiencies.

However, it is recognised that across the health and care system, data is not always acquired for such uses in the most effective manner. 

The current Commissioning Data Sets (CDS), for example, were developed in the early 1980’s.  Since that time, there has been a rapid and sustained increase in volume, scope and complexity of patient care in hospitals, but CDS have not been developed to keep up with these changes - resulting in an information gap in data collected from NHS Trusts. 

In an attempt to fill this gap, providers are expected to submit additional datasets to NHS England, ALBs, commissioners, royal colleges, cancer networks and others.  These total more than 250 collections. 

The majority of the central collections and audits are aggregate, highly manual, sourced from different hospital systems and collected for a specific purpose, which prevents any possibility for reuse. 

Furthermore, some collections rely on information stored in hand-written notes and log books. 

The Data Architecture and Secondary Uses Transformation Programme will address these inefficiencies and unlock the potential for data to be used more efficiently by enabling more frequent data flows and safer linkage of data from multiple sources.

The programme will also support a more effective approach to standardisation in a ‘collect once, use often’ model for data that flows at patient and event level in near real time.

The underlying principles are to: “create better value from data” and “do more with available data” across health and social care.

This means reducing burden and enabling improved data collection, transfer and processing.

At the same time a review of existing single use aggregate data collections will identify which metrics and data collections can be retired. 

By flowing modularised patient level data more frequently from Providers, NHS Digital expects to be able to complete the central returns from the data received centrally and reduce the onus on Trusts.

Modular data architecture enables the flow of more than one data item either by event or batch process. 

‘Event-based’ may refer to a flow of data triggered by populating or changing an existing data item, or an end of an episode or activity of care, such as a discharge from a ward, caching up of an outpatient clinic or in A&E completion of triage. 

Following the occurrence of a patient event, a message (event notification) containing details of the change in patient status and time stamp will be generated and transmitted to NHS Digital by the provider system.  Each new entry, edit or delete will trigger a new flow of data to NHS Digital.  This could happen after the event.

A patient attendance, appointment, episode or stay in hospital may trigger several different events.  A modular architecture will facilitate the flow of this data where a change to the patient record has been made.


Why We Are Consulting

NHS Digital has developed this survey in an attempt to capture, at a high level, the impact, indicative costs and timescales for the adaption of your systems to comply with the proposed changes.  We would be very grateful if you would complete this survey. The survey comprises of fourteen questions and should take less than ten minutes to complete. We acknowledge that your role may not have all the information available, therefore please feel free to consult with your colleagues.

The results of the survey will form part of an internal Impact Assessment report that will not identify respondents.

This survey will close on 12 July 2019 at midnight.



What Happens Next

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. Your views will be used to shape the implementation approach for the Enabling National Data Architecture project.

If you have expressed a wish to be part of a pilot, then we will be in touch in due course.


  • All Areas


  • Managers
  • Commissioners
  • IT Specialists
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  • Health IT System Suppliers
  • Trust/Practice IT Staff
  • Heads of Information
  • Information Managers
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Data Consumers
  • System Suppliers


  • Information Technology
  • Informatics
  • Commissioning
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  • Commissioning Data Sets
  • Commissioning
  • Information Sharing