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Developing Data Literacy for Improvement Communities – a Learning Healthcare System

Bournemouth University and University Hospitals Dorset aim to develop a training programme of modular units to help improvers collect data, understand data, share data driven stories and design data-driven interventions

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  • Proposal
  • 2022

Meet the team


  • Prof. Anna Feigenbaum, Bournemouth University (Project Lead BU)
  • Dr. Lyle Skains, Bournemouth University
  • Louisa Way, University Hospitals Dorset

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

This project aims to use digital data, dashboards, and platforms to improve patient care, responding to the “digital and improvement communities” theme.

Health care organisations collect a wealth of data, but there is often a disconnect between the data and those who both report it and could benefit from it: data becomes compartmentalised, passed up a chain, utilised for system-wide analyses, but is often overlooked (or even inaccessible) for evaluating service trends and enabling service-wide interventions for improving care delivery.

The Bournemouth University – University Hospitals Dorset Partnership Programme seeks to co-develop a modular, adaptable, and practical professional development program for service leaders and care-workers to gain the ability to collect, analyse, and use data to design implementable innovations for service-level challenges. Developing progressive cycles of data collection, analysis and interventions can prioritise improvements for care delivery that are underpinned by both data insights and patient-centred approaches.

What does your project aim to achieve?

Our project aim is to co-develop an interdisciplinary, professional development programme on understanding and working with patient and organisational data.


(1) Co-develop a training method  for working with service-level healthcare data independent from any specific unit/system/dashboard.

(2)   Co-create modular learning units that can be offered either singly, or as part of the overall programme, to better meet the needs of individual learners on:

(2a) Understanding Data: developing key data literacies, understanding techniques of data gathering, identifying patterns and trends in data with a patient-centred approaches to using data for quality improvements.

(2b) Working with Data: using digital tools for data analysis, interrogating data for targeted interventions and keeping patients at the forefront.

(2c) Sharing Data-driven Stories: developing effective communication to get buy-in for best practice and that  best communicate data insight.

(2d) Designing Data-driven Interventions: enacting practical innovations, evaluating data-driven interventions for sustainable and scale-able quality and outcome improvements.

How will the project be delivered?

The programme will be co-designed by experts in data literacy, data analytics, data communications, and intervention design from Bournemouth University, and data specialists, clinical and non-clinical leaders and their teams  from UHD to enable that it meets the practical needs and situations of learners and offers a robust pedagogical approach. The co-creation process will involve relevant people from an ongoing partnership network between University Hospitals Dorset  and the Science, Health and Data Communication Research Centre at Bournemouth University.

To meet objective one UHD and BU will engage in a  co-design process to determine programme aspects: method of delivery, learning outcomes, assessments and teaching approaches.

To meet objective two UHD and BU will co-design and test run a series of modules as outlined above (2a-2d).

Impact evaluation is part of our project and we can ensure value for money and that risks are managed within the project

How is your project going to share learning?

This project will generate valuable learning for Q members and learners in healthcare systems across the UK and Ireland through the dissemination of four key deliverables:

(1)   Final report: We will share a digital and limited print run version of our final report that captures the design iteration of the programme, as well results from the evaluation in order to inform digital and data training development across the health sector.

(2)   Interactive digital toolkit for data literacy: We will create and share an online toolkit that contains learning resources, introductory key skills training videos, and lesson plans for data literacy-building activities.

(3)   Pre-tested data literacy training programme: An updated version of our co-created training programme will be available for enrolment.

(4)   Best Practice Case Studies: We will disseminate case study write-ups  via communication networks and newsletters to reach further professional groups, such as Nursing Times, AHP, Frontline and other appropriate outlets.

How you can contribute

  • Do Q colleagues have experience with using potentially-identifiable live data in a training situation?
  • Are there technologies or techniques outside of the NHS that you have found useful that could inform our practice?

Plan timeline

16 Sep 2022 Planning Meeting 1 Method of Delivery and Learning Outcomes
30 Sep 2022 Planning Meeting 2 Teaching Approaches, Assessments and Qualifications
25 Nov 2022 Target Date for Completed Delivery of Module 1 Understanding Data
20 Jan 2023 Target Date for Completed Delivery of Module 2 Working with Data
3 Feb 2023 Planning Meeting 3 Midpoint Check-in on Delivery, Outcomes, Teaching Approaches, Assessments
10 Mar 2023 Target Date for Completed Delivery of Module 3 Sharing Data-driven Stories
21 Apr 2023 Target Date for Completed Delivery of Module 4 Designing Data-driven Interventions
16 Jun 2023 Programme evaluation completed
1 Sep 2023 Publication of final report
8 Sep 2023 Project Sustainability Meeting - Next Steps post-funding period


  1. A great thread to follow and thanks for your response Lyle, will watch with interest!

  2. This sounds very interesting - our team is working in the education setting (we run bridging programmes through HEE at UHB). I am commenting because I expect we will face many similar challenges to you as many of the clinical academics we see at pre and post-doctoral levels will be grappling with managing data in QI projects - can I ask you a) how will you manage the hurdle of publication fee's (will that be costed into the 40,000 - and if so, will there be no 'longevity' to this after the 40k runs out? b) how will the staff get time (assuming they are all clinical) to do the modules? c) what unexpected outcomes /unintended consequences could there be?

    1. Guest

      Lyle Skains 3 months, 3 weeks ago

      Hi, Emma, thanks so much for the feedback.

      For open access publication fees, yes, it would be good to cost some into the budget. Bournemouth Uni also has agreements for OA publications with several academic publishers and their journals, as well as funds available for non-agreement publishers if need be.

      In terms of longevity after the 40k, we aim to make the program self-sustaining by offering it more widely as a data literacy CPD course. It's just this initial development and implementation phase where we want some room to be able to try some experimental and innovative approaches without fear of being shut down because it's not perfected already.

      Some of those approaches are to enable working practitioners/clinicians/service staff to do the course at their own pace and as is convenient for them and their employer. We're designing the program to be as modular as possible, even to a more granular level, and to offer as much asynchronous and flexible learning materials as we can. Trying to build in lessons learned from other CPD programs around the world (such as, say, veterinary CPD in the States).

      In terms of unintended consequences, we're mostly concerned about the confidentiality of the data. We want to make sure the program is very practical for the participants, using as much real-world data from their own service units as possible. We're going to have to have some strong procedures in place to protect the data. Of course, we'd be glad to hear other possibilities for unintended outcomes so we can anticipate them!


  3. Hi Alan

    This sounds like an interesting project.

    You may already have seen this work: . This blog highlights the importance of building organisational structures to enable Learning Health Systems to be successful, and that goes beyond data. How are you paying attention to and considering leadership and organisational cultures and structures in this project?

    I was also thinking there may be some useful learning from this Q Exchange project from last time, looking to spread the 'bedside learning coordinator' role  it may be worth reaching out to them?

    Best of luck with the idea!


    1. Guest

      Lyle Skains 4 months ago

      Thank you so much! These are both fantastic resources, and I think they'll help us a lot in fashioning this program.

      Leadership and organisational structures are certainly a concern. We're still navigating the availability and uniformity of data and data access across the organisation, and considering who would benefit most from a program like this. The bedside coordinator project looks promising for thinking about that.

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