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Information governance and how we use NHS data

Projects completed with NHS Digital Hospital Episode Statistics data

The Oxford AHSN receives quarterly extracts of hospital episode statistics (HES) from NHS Digital, which includes data submitted by the provider trusts within the region. The arrangement follows an application process to and review by the data access advisory group at NHS Digital. The storage and use of data adheres to the data sharing agreement set out by NHS Digital. The data received has been anonymised: diagnosis, procedures and outcomes can be understood to help understand patient care but individual patients cannot be identified.

The HES data received covers inpatient, outpatient, critical care and emergency activity and has been used by the Informatics team to support the Oxford AHSN’s core programmes.

Paediatric admissions

The Oxford AHSN Best Care Children’s clinical network was provided with a report drawn from the inpatient dataset. This has enabled the network to produce a report documenting variation in hospital admissions for varying ages of children who presented with common paediatric diseases.

Respiratory admissions

The Oxford AHSN Best Care Respiratory clinical network was provided with a report drawn from the inpatient dataset. This enabled the network to understand regional variation in admission to hospital and outcomes for patients admitted with asthma and coronary obstructive pulmonary disease.


Introducing innovations to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of clinical practice is core to the work of the Oxford AHSN. Before new technologies are piloted in hospitals, benefits to the organisation and patients must be highlighted. A report outlining the number of patients receiving angiograms and the percentage needing treatment was developed. This was to assess the feasibility of a new point-of-care test to better identify patients who need an angiogram.


The timely identification and treatment of sepsis is a national and regional patient safety priority. Understanding which inpatients are at risk of serious infection is an important factor in the early detection of sepsis. Diagnosis and coding have been used to highlight demographics and track outcomes of patients who fit the ‘suspicion of sepsis’ criteria.

Other projects

Other project supported by the Informatics team include:

  • inpatient stays following emergency admission for under 18’s, with the primary diagnosis being related to alcohol
  • inpatient stays due to a primary diagnosis of fracture for all patients over 50 broken down by anatomic region.
  • detailed analysis of prostate surgical procedures.