The sophisticated use of data is essential to the continued delivery of modern government and healthcare services, but getting it right is not easy. This article explains how government organizations can circulate data and convince citizens of its benefits.
Throughout the pandemic, data has been a key element in delivering essential services and providing ongoing care to people nationwide. And because of this, we’ve seen governments and healthcare organizations accelerate their use of data faster than ever to meet public needs.
When used correctly, data can improve the design, efficiency and results of services. But if mishandled or used carelessly, it can have dire consequences and permanently damage public perception, so it is important to exercise caution.
Sophisticated use of data is essential for the continued delivery of modern government and healthcare services – but getting it right is not easy. Here’s how government organizations can get data flowing and convince citizens of its benefits.
Provide a consistent view of the data
As we enter the next phase of the pandemic, we are seeing a substantial increase in digital initiatives to improve the way data is shared. In the UK healthcare sector, there are signs of a future where citizens will take a more proactive role in their own healthcare monitoring, with data flowing seamlessly between private sector organizations. and public.
These more sophisticated data streams can be life-changing, encouraging individuals to take a more active role in monitoring their own health while giving GPs crucial information to guide better decision-making. The result is a comprehensive health dashboard, covering everything from blood pressure to sugar levels and even more ad hoc procedures like eye tests or vaccines.
But, to be truly successful, interactions between patients and providers need to be quick and intuitive. The data should be sent back automatically to the NHS so that GPs can be proactive with the information; this data should also be easily accessible to everyone involved, but it should also be stored securely at all times.
An example from the NHS is a good example. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, the NHS has sought to continue expanding its data collection services at the general practitioner level to better understand the delivery of health services across the country. But, poor communication, privacy concerns, and a lack of oversight meant that the new project faced intense public backlash – and was ultimately scrapped.
The lesson here is that for data to be truly actionable, it needs to be available and subject to the right permissions. If the government can secure and streamline access to data, aggregate it in the right places, and ensure continued access and control for citizens, the potential benefits for these citizens – and the government itself – are enormous.
Build trust with citizens
As the example of the NHS shows, if citizens feel that government bodies do not treat their data with care, trust is easily broken.
While people are often accustomed to passing data to private companies in exchange for the goods and services they consume – think of ridesharing services, fast food delivery, and surfing the internet – surveillance fears, data leaks and lack of clear means of matching the same people are less inclined to share this data with the government.
As a result, government agencies need to work hard to build trust and make it clear how and why the exchange of personal data will provide better experiences for citizens. The key to gaining that trust is to demonstrate exactly what your organization gets by providing or sharing data at each stage of the development cycle, and how that also directly benefits the end user.
This process will be gradual: compliance is an evolution, not a revolution. But consistent communication and full transparency about where data is located and how it is used will eventually produce meaningful results.
Take the time to explain new technologies
Finally, it is widely accepted that new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are set to replace many jobs in the public sector. This is probably one of the reasons many are reluctant to support new data sharing initiatives.
The truth, however, is that, rather than replacing roles, new technologies offer people the opportunity to redefine jobs, develop new skills, and improve the way they work. And that’s what the UK public sector can support – improve the skills of the next generation of the workforce to improve productivity.
Ultimately, the best way for governments to overcome this negative perception and show the real value of new technologies is to take the time to explain the benefits that these technologies can bring to careers, and then invest in development. people, so that they are ready to better adapt to change.
The use of data is integral to the daily improvement of government organizations. Driving change can be slow, but if you take the time to educate citizens and users about its benefits and importance, you will have a much easier time implementing new initiatives.
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