The challenge

We know that the Better Care approach–which integrates clinical practice, large-scale data and advanced analytics in a cycle of continuous learning–can drive ongoing improvements in the quality of healthcare. What is less clear is how to unlock this potential. There are various challenges to developing and implementing a learning health system, including technology, infrastructure, skills, culture, processes and policy. With a health and care system in greater demand than ever before and against a context of limited funding, workforces and infrastructure are under increasing pressure. There is appetite and an opportunity to take a more joined-up, nationwide approach to advance the Better Care model across the UK and address these issues.

The solution

Working at the intersection of research, policy and practice, this project is uniquely placed to identify, understand and address the barriers and enablers to implementing the Better Care approach. The project team is engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and communities across healthcare, improvement, tech and data, patients and the public to develop a vision for taking forward the Better Care agenda. We are generating evidence about learning health system models, what works and why, and using these insights to deliver a roadmap to advance the Better Care approach and the widescale use of data and analytics in routine health and care. As part of this, the project is making practical recommendations to policymakers, practitioners and system leaders who can help bring about national and local change.

The impact and outcomes

This work not only supports and helps shape the Better Care programme with analysis and practical advice but, by generating insights into the current use of data-driven approaches to improve care and by identifying the opportunities available to advance this agenda now, this project will seek to influence the policy agenda and wider engagement on this issue across the healthcare system.

Project team

Project Leads: Tim Horton, Assistant Director, The Health Foundation and Tom Hardie, Improvement Fellow, The Health Foundation