This article is part of a series: Bennett Institute teams

Hello, from the Bennett Institute’s NHS Service Analytics team. In this short blog post, we’ll describe what NHS Service Analytics is, who we are, what we do, and an example of a recent highlight of our work.

What is NHS Service Analytics?

NHS Service Analytics is the use of data science to describe clinical activity and outcomes in the NHS, and model how changes to services could improve the quality, safety or cost effectiveness of care.

Who are we?

The NHS Service Analytics Team is: Caroline Walters, Milan Wiedemann, Helen Curtis, Louis Fisher and Rose Higgins.

What do we do?

The NHS Service Analytics Team uses data platforms and tools run by the Bennett Institute to produce high quality and reproducible NHS Service Analytics. We also make it easier for others to do NHS Service Analytics.

Our work includes:

  • Exploration and adding datasets for use in the OpenSAFELY platform for operational research
  • Developing and prototyping new tools and services for frontline NHS staff and decision makers
  • Contributing to maintaining and further developing existing tools
  • Teaching the world how to use our tools
  • Standalone reports/papers using data from our tools e.g. OpenPrescribing trends and variation
  • Conducting studies to support service improvements
  • Delivering training and workshops on using data for service analysis

A recent highlight

The outputs of the team range from academic papers to online reporting tools, depending on the project. A more comprehensive list of Bennett Institute service analytics work can be found on our blog. Below is a recent highlight from our work.

Service Restoration Observatory

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted healthcare activity across a broad range of clinical services. We developed the OpenSAFELY Service Restoration Observatory (SRO) to describe this impact on primary care activity and monitor its recovery. We worked with an expert clinical advisory group to develop codelists and measures which were reflective of clinical activity in general practice. In three papers (SRO paper 1 (pathology and respiratory, SRO paper 2 (broader range of activity, SRO paper 3 (eleven key measures)) we described our methods, and reported the trends and variations in these measures. We found that most activities experienced significant reduction during the first wave of the pandemic, but showed quick recovery by September 2020: the exception was time-critical care, which was maintained throughout this period. The code and codelists to create these measures is published in full, in line with our commitment to ensure that all code is open for complete visibility, transparency, reproducibility and re-use of our work. In addition, we like to go beyond merely producing a static report in a published paper: we have also developed and shared a monthly report showing trends in these measures (available here) where the data updates on a regular basis.