Expanded NHS England taps McKinsey to design data and analytics model in £1m deal

Management consultancy brought in to help shape national body’s use of data

The newly expanded NHS England has signed a £1m deal with management consultancy McKinsey to design the organisation’s model for data and analytics.

Recently published commercial documents reveal that the health-service body entered into a short-term contract on 10 March. The deal runs to the end of March and will be worth £917,000 to the US-based firm – or potentially more if NHS England extends the deal, up to maximum of 18 additional months.

During the engagement, the consultancy will “design the operating model for data and analytics in the new merged NHS England organization” – which includes the inclusion of NHS Digital, NHSX, and Health Education England.

This design work, which comes on the back of “an initial consultant-led exploratory phase follows”, will incorporate reviews of “both health and non-health examples globally on how data and analytics teams are configured in the spirit of what excellent looks like with three lenses: people; processes; [and] technology – architectures [and] infrastructure including platforms”, according to the contract.

This will take place alongside work to “understand the current ‘as is’ of all organisations in scope including their staff skills base, technology platforms and functions they deliver to the NHS but also to their own current organisations”.

These organisations will include NHS England’s directorates of Digital Data Services and Data and Analytics, other data-managing functions in NHS Commissioning Support Units, and the Data and Analytics team of Health Education England, which will complete its merger into NHS England at the end of this month.

These reviews will then inform an operating model that should include “a progression/maturity trajectory in three phases, covering the first year, the second and third years, and years three to five.

The model will also feature “the operationalising of controls for the Data Safe Haven” model, which includes a collection of accredited organisations “set up in the NHS to ensure that confidential patient data can be transmitted and stored securely”.

McKinsey will also be tasked with creating an “interlinked design with the CIO function” of NHS England, as well a “joined -up working model with the [organisation’s] Joint Digital Policy Unit ensuring data policy development has integral core delivery teams”.

The consultancy will also support work to “design and develop how the data and analytics profession will be supported right across the new NHS England and also the NHS more widely and what the offer is [and] will be for local organisations including trusts and integrated care boards”.

To support the health service’s long-term ambitions, the engagement will cover efforts to “develop a mechanism to constantly ensure we are innovating and learning from the best globally on best practices in data and analytics – the idea here being we don’t always have to wait for formal operating model exercises to constantly learn and innovate”.

The new operating model should reflect changes brought about the NHS’s use of information by the coronavirus crisis.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the importance and potential of data to transform NHS services and drive sustainable recovery,” the contract said. “NHS England need a data-driven operating model which reflects this.”

Sam Trendall

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