Guardian Healthcare Professionals Network has just published an article by me on cities, health and data. This gave me the chance to revisit what has been a puzzle: what is the cause of Glasgow’s excess mortality, which sees men there dying nearly a decade earlier than in the longest-living urban area in the UK (Kensington and Chelsea)?
The Glasgow Centre for Population Health has been working to find answers, and it has a couple, provisionally. Firstly, it thinks that Glasgow’s deprivation is deeper than the data – which tends to measure whether people are below a threshhold (and therefore qualify for a benefit) – suggests. Secondly, it believes that Glasgow had a particularly bad legacy of poor post-war housing, such as the Red Road tower-blocks that the city attempted to demolish at the weekend. There are other factors too. Continue reading “Glasgow’s excess mortality: blame deprivation and housing?”
I have written an article for ComputerWeekly.com on how big data and genomics are combining to treat cancer, specifically by using the DNA of cancerous cells to help choose which medicines and treatments to use for a patient. Stratified medicine (using different treatments depending on the patient, rather than just the type and stage of cancer) is already a reality, particularly for breast cancer.
But a major trial offering a range of new treatments for advanced lung cancer – the National Lung Matrix Trial run by Cancer Research UK, NHS trusts and drug companies – looks set to take this concept significantly further. Continue reading “Treating cancer with genomics data for ComputerWeekly.com”
Big Brother Watch’s newly-released data on £515m of council CCTV spending between 2007 and 2011 (covered by my colleague Sade Laja on Guardian Government Computing) is even more interesting when combined with population numbers. Obviously, camera spending per capita is not a perfect measure, as some areas clearly have security needs beyond those of their immediate populations. This would help to explain why Westminster is the biggest spender per head of population: £46.75 over the last four years, compared to a UK average of £8.27.
Continue reading “The biggest council CCTV spenders per resident: Westminster… then Tamworth”
Figures released by the government show large variations in the use of automatic numberplate recognition cameras by police forces
Article on data analysis in the NHS, first published in Health Service Journal, 5 July 2005
Two years ago, Sheila Leatherman, research professor at University of North Carolina’s school of public health, and Kim Sutherland, a senior research associate at University of Cambridge’s Judge institute of management, wrote ‘The Quest for Quality in the NHS’ for the Nuffield Trust, comparing England’s NHS to other developed countries.
The authors noted the lack of a ‘shared robust information base that provides a common understanding of the NHS’s strengths and weaknesses’. Now, Prof Leatherman and Dr Sutherland have attempted to show that such an information base, using independent and routinely-reported data, can and should be compiled – by doing it themselves, through compiling more than 100 charts from numerous sources into a single chartbook of NHS quality.
Continue reading “Charting a new course: data analysis of the NHS across the UK”