Sharing data about sharing data

Last year, in a post called Saving Money for Local Government and NHS, I wrote about how we need to use the assets we have.

And this became the basis of a project. From November 2012, supported by the Department of Health’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund we looked at finding revolutionary ways of putting patient voices directly in line with national outcomes, using the latest digital technology – and sharing that with other organisations across the country.

So what was the project trying to achieve?


Our original aim was to replicate the Pregnancy Outreach Workers Service (POWs) into another area.

The POW service, developed from scratch and now seven years old, is efficient and effective. It has a clear role, with defined protocols, safeguarding and training all well established.

So we started by looking for organisations like ours in other parts of the country. We began sharing, leading and learning with other people in the third sector. When organisations work together, we can be stronger and make a better offer.

Data and Outcomes

We don’t think “data” has to be boring!  The illustrations dotted around this post, drawn by the talented Alex Hughes from Drawnalism throughout our event in Leeds last week, are an example of data that is accessible and engaging.

Better data works well for everyone; it increases efficiency. You can hear from your patients directly. You can hear from services directly and make decisions based on concrete evidence.

So we’ve been developing tools that allow us to gather data directly from clients and other organisations, and measure it against national outcome frameworks in different and interesting ways.

Our POW service uses three main data tools:

  • The Podnosh Uniqueref Database – collects quantitative, statistical data. This is our clients’ personal information, including names and address, and information on their issues and risks
  • The Podnosh Impact Assessment App – collects the qualitative data. Outreach workers, using their smart phones, collect views from clients. This data is directly from our clients, in their own words, including statements and happiness ratings.
  • The Outcomes Database – pulls together the outcome frameworks relevant to the ‘Starting Well’ phase of Marmot’s Life Course, against which we plot outcome data from us and from other organisations.
    (Some of the terms that organisations use are different to the terms used by government – for example, our POWs would call someone living in a hostel “homeless” but according to the government they’re “in temporary accommodation” – so alongside the Outcomes Database we created a Data Dictionary to help us to compare and measure more accurately.)

The findings

As we’ve come to the end of the project, we’ve realised that the priority for other organisations is to create and share data on their existing services rather than to replicate others. So we’re going to build on that.

We’re setting up an online forum to get the conversation going and we’ll be inviting providers and commissioners to join us in sharing and finding new ways to work.

The event

Last week we ran an event in Leeds called Measuring Outcomes – Producing Evidence – Demonstrating Outcomes to share our findings.

Here are the slides from the three presentations:

People who were not at the event were able to follow it on Twitter using the hashtag #mopedi.
View the tweets on Storify
View all the illustrations from Alex Hughes