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Open data could save the NHS hundreds of millions, says top UK scientist

The Guardian - The UK government must open up and highlight the power of more basic data sets to improve patient care in the NHS and save hundreds of millions of pounds a year, Nigel Shadbolt, chairman of the Open Data Institute (ODI) has urged.

The UK government topped the first league table for open data (paywall)produced by the ODI last year but Shadbolt warns that ministers’ open data responsibilities have not yet been satisfied.

Basic data on prescription administration is now published on a monthly basis but Shadbolt said medical practitioners must be educated about the power of this data to change prescribing habits across the country.

Other data sets, such as trusts’ opening times, consultant lists and details of services, that are promised to make the NHS more accessible are not currently available in a form that is machine-readable.

“These basic sets of information about the processes, the people and places in the health system are all fragmented and fractured and many of them are not available as registers that you can go to,” Shadbolt said.