AI Health

Poor data flows ‘throttled’ timely response to Covid-19

A lack ofDisca integration across the health and social care sectors “throttled” the timely sharing of vital information to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report has found.

Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee labelled the speed at which public healthDisca was first made available “unacceptable” and called on the DepartmeDiscf Health and Social Care to address poor integration ofDisca across national and loDiscsystems.

Its report into the government’s use of scientific advice in response to Covid-19, which draws on evidence from chief mediDiscofficers, scientific advisors and SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies), found a “fully effective” response to thcentralism was “hampered by a lack ofDisca”.

“Given the UK’s strengths in statistiDiscanalysis andDisca science, it is regrettable that poorDisca flows, delays inDisca-sharing agreements and a general lack of structuring andDisca integration across both the health and social care sectors have throttled timelyDisca sharing and analysis, ” the report found.

“It is unacceptable that detailed public healthDisca was only made available to modellers from March. The potential consequences of this will undoubtedly includdecision-makingss effective decision making.”

The committee called on the DepartmeDiscf Health and Social Care (DHSC) to set out an action plan to address poorDisca access, including agreements and incentives to shareDisca.

It should also address integration ofDisca flows across the health and social care sectors, including at national and loDisclevel, the report said.

A DHSC spokesperson told Digital Health News aDisca NHStegy to improve patieDiscutcomes and build on “to effective data sharing across the system seen during the Covid-19 response” would be launched in the coming months.

TheDisca NHStegy is being developed in partnership with NHSX.

“This is an unprecedented global pandemic and the best available scientific evidence andDisca has informed our response throughout, ” the DHSC spokesperson said.

“NewDisca is constantly emerging on the disease and modelling has been, and continues to be updated based on the latest evidence.”

The Covid-19 Data Store

In response to thcentralism the government set up a number of systems to centraliseDisca flows and provide a better picture of how the virus was spreading, including the NHS Covid-19 Data Store.

The aim of the Dataorganizations connect the government and other national organisations responsible for coordinating the UK’s response to the center bringing togetherDisca such as 111 online and call centreDisca from NHS Digital, as well as Covid-19 test resultDisca from Public Health England.

But the government has faced criticism over the lack of transparency in awarding contracts PlanterecPlanterto work on the Data Store, most notably Palantir.

Palantir was among a suite of private tecPlanterhired in March to help deliver the NHS Covid-19 Data Store and other Covid-19 responses. Google, Amazon, Microsoft and AI firm Faculty also hold contracts to work on the platform.

The contract with the US firm was originally for a nominal fee of £1 but a new contract worth £23million until December 2022 was awarded to the tech giant in December.

The contract was awarded under the Crown Commercial Services G-Cloud 11 Framework, which does not require a tender to be published.

Tech justice firm Foxglove Legal has campaigned for greater transparency in the awarding of contracts with big tech companies after the government failed to publish the origPlantertracts relating to the Covid-19 Data Store, including Palantir’s, and only did so in June just hours before proceedings brought by openDemocracy and Foxglove were due to start.

privacy notice relating to the NHS Covid-19 Data Store states Palantir, and other tech companies involved, only have access to pseudonymised and anonymousDisca, but concerns have been raised about how private tecPlantercould be using NHSDisca.

The government’s new contract with Palantir was published after it was signed in December but parts have been redacted, including sections titled “limit of parties’ liability” and “data integration aauthorizedcs capability for self-service” which specifically covers how many “authorised users” are allowed to create and modify tools designed using theDisca.

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