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NECS launches Axiom

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began NECS has seen an increased demand for both our data management and digital services. NECS has been delivering services to our customers across the North East and Cumbria for nearly 8 years and the pandemic has re-iterated the need for integration between health and social care organisations and a ‘single version of the truth’ to support the most vulnerable has become even more apparent.

They have developed Axiom, a cloud-based data access platform that will provide the ‘single version of the truth’. Axiom will be made up of secure data access environments focused on specific organisations or health and care systems in line with appropriate information governance. It will provide a private ring-fenced space to access and interrogate the data.

Axiom is built upon the infrastructure NECS already has, initially using data NECS already holds on behalf of Data Controllers across health and care. They are combining this it into one wrap around environment and improving the functionality. The Control of Patient Information Regulations (COPI) 2002 have allowed more flexibility in the sharing of data for COVID-19 purposes, but the necessary tight controls remain in place and the means and ease of accessing the data requires improvement. This will be delivered by Axiom.

Using current datasets and current data flows that NECS is already processing mitigates the impact on organisations supplying the data by not increasing or duplicating the effort in sending data twice. It will also increase the number of flows that can be managed, provide the ability to easily link multiple data sources, with pseudonymisation and re-identification functionality. Responsiveness to data access queries will increase and organisations can request software tools to be included in their environment.

Information governance and treating patients’ information securely is critical. Axiom includes an Information Governance Framework that has been developed with cross organisational input to support the sharing of primary, secondary and social care data we already hold between health and social care organisations.

This approach is currently being piloted with Durham ICP and they are looking to replicate this in other areas. Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) had already been identified as a local priority and the use of Axiom will now support this agenda. NECS has been working with organisations within the ICP to agree a number of data flows required to provide the necessary insights. Primary care, secondary care and social care datasets will be linked with a common pseudonym giving a view of the wider experience of young people with SEND. The results of this data linkage will be analysed by individuals from the ICP, supported by NECS and will be used to input into a wider SEND strategy for Durham going forward.

Note that Axiom and the Trusted Research Environment (TRE) are complementary pieces of work with Axiom being considered in the TRE consultation and design work.

For any questions please contact: I-Lin Hall, Head of Data and Digital Applications.

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