Connected Health Cities

The Connected Health Cities Programme is a Health North pilot project funded by the UK’s Department of Health and delivered by the Northern Health Science Alliance. Four Northern regions have secured £4 million each to deliver the work over the next two years.

In the North West Coast, the programme is being delivered by a core group of partner organisations:

Our aims through the Connected Health Cities Programme are to:

  • Support the development and delivery of innovative information models and algorithms to front line staff in timely ways that enable them to develop and monitor new and/or more effective pathways
  • Develop models for connecting and engaging people with expertise and experience from across the health, social, local government, voluntary, commercial and public sectors to turn data into information into knowledge
  • Harness the power of data by collecting, linking and collating data from health and social care and eventually also from a wide range of other sources – by putting in place the permissions and systems needed to enable novel uses of data to transform care
  • Support industry, academia and others in using data that both improves understanding of health care efficiency and effectiveness but also enables new techniques, ideas and organisational forms to be tested
  • Create a sharing environment that enlists the trust, and active involvement, of NWC citizens.

Aims and objectives

Led by Dr Keith Bodger, the University of Liverpool is leading on the clinical pathways workstream and has selected three conditions as the focus of this activity.

As exemplar pathways, the programme will initially focus on alcohol and unplanned admissions (COPD and epilepsy). These are common areas of clinical concern within our region and we believe that the Connected Health Cities programme will contribute tools, methodologies and learning to our regional care delivery organisations and will support the improvement of service delivery across these pathways.

One of our main aims is to demonstrate how better use of health data within the NHS can improve outcomes for patients and create more efficient services. In order to understand how better use of healthcare data can optimise patient pathways; we first need to understand what healthcare data can actually tell us about how patients interact with healthcare services, and whether there are any significant factors that impact upon the way they are using them.


There will be two strands to the approach we take in answering these questions and a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods will be employed.

One strand of the work will be undertaken by the Healthcare Data Laboratory established within our Department of Biostatistics. This team will be:

  • Analysing anonymised commissioning datasets for the whole of the Northwest Coast
  • Developing algorithms that accurately capture all interactions that patients have with provider Trusts across the patch; and
  • Seeking to understand patterns in admission frequencies and any significant trends and correlations within the data.

By linking our critical mass of analytical expertise with a programme of engagement of front-line NHS clinicians across the region, the team will support the iterative co-production of clinically validated analytics and data-visualisation for defined patient pathways. This will drive the development of a Learning Health System linking information systems to innovative health informatics research.

Connected Health Cities methods

In parallel to the work undertaken by analysts within the Healthcare Data Laboratory, a Pathway Profiling team comprising two Qualitative/Mixed Methods Researchers will work with healthcare teams within provider organisations to build a detailed profile of the people, data, and systems involved in the care of patients across the various pathways. This team will map out the patient data trails that are created within and across health and social care providers and assess points along the patient pathway at which better systems or processes may facilitate better data capture and accessibility.

Visit the Connected Health Cities website for more information.