In July, Ben Goldacre and Brian MacKenna wrote a piece in the British Medical Journal arguing that hospital medicines data should be openly shared. Magnificently, the NHS has now made secondary care medicines data (SCMD) available. You can read the full technical specification of the data here but briefly: it is hospital pharmacy stock control data, which is collected and processed by Rx-Info, and is now published on the NHS Business Services Authority website in the NHS dm+d standard we know, love, and have documented well.

At the DataLab we have long argued that hospital medicines data represents the greatest opportunities to manage variation in treatments and costs of medicines, as hospitals are where the newest and most expensive medicines are used. We would like to build to deliver more insights for clinicians, patients, commissioners, and more. We live to ship! We just need a small amount of resource: OpenPrescribing runs on a shoestring: we are great at getting pure academic research grants (and publishing papers); but there are no open competitive funding streams for practical coalface analytics tools like OpenPrescribing (which now has 145,000 users a year). We think that’s holding back progress, across the whole health data landscape! If you are a funder and would like to support please get in touch: [email protected]

You may also be interested in our first blog and analysis using the new hospital medicines data about biologic medicines used in severe asthma.