Using ‘big data’ to improve physical health among people with SMI.

Theme lead: Professor Rowena Jacobs, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.

With developments in linking large amounts of observational datasets, new opportunities exist to address real world problems in an efficient and effective way. The Closing the Gap 's big data theme will bring together data from a range of sources to focus on a more preventative approach to improving the physical health of people with SMI. A key ambition of the Mental Health Taskforce is that by 2020/21 at least 280,000 individuals with SMI should have their physical needs met.

Approximately half a million people with SMI in England are registered with a GP and between 20 to 40 per cent of those on mental health registers do not receive an annual health check. Uptake rates of follow up care, such as provision of evidence-based lifestyle services, are unknown. There is a need for integrated working across sectors to ensure the right services are available in the right places at the right time.

The key output of the big data theme will be the establishing of capacity, experience and expertise in the linking of (sometimes disparate) datasets to answer questions of policy and practice for SMI. We will make explicit links with other themes, such as environment and green and blue space, by exploring linkages to NERC environment datasets and digital data. We will also generate a new resource for future research of networked datasets which can speak with each other, thus enabling rapid conduct of future research.

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