City at the helm of £1.8m data project

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A £1.8m data project which will allow patients to update their own health records is being launched in Leeds.

The scheme, set up by Leeds City Council and NHS bosses, has been officially named as “Helm” after a marketing agency was hired.

The “open source” project is designed to improve decision-making by health professionals by giving patients access to their records so they can add information about their wellbeing.

It is hoped the pilot scheme will cut A&E admissions and help reduce the workloads of busy family doctors in the city.

It was named Helm after marketing company Thompson Brand Partners was brought in.

Dylan Roberts, Leeds City Council’s Chief Digital and Information Officer, said: “Getting the best name and identity for this service is important right from the start of the pilot period, making its benefits clear to care professionals and the public. We will engage with users over the coming months and years to ensure we develop a platform that helps citizens to understand their data better, which will hopefully help them to manage and control their own health and wellbeing.

“Working with Thompson is giving us the tools that we need to build a strong brand for Helm that will help us connect with the people it can help most.”

Around 1,400 people will have access to the service during the three-year pilot project, which was launched last October.

As part of the project, doctors will have immediate access to information like blood pressure readings.

The administration of patient records will be made easier as patients update personal information like changes of address themselves.

It uses technology developed by non-profit company the Ripple Foundation.

Following the pilot project, the Helm project could be extended to all patients in Leeds.

Rachel Cook, Thompson Brand Partners, said: “Helm focuses on putting people back in control of their data. People are more data security aware now than ever, so it is vital that the brand helps build public trust in Helm’s mission.

“We wanted to make its ambition clear. Although it’s launching as a healthcare data platform in Leeds, the goal is for it to become far more wide-reaching.

“We designed the brand to have the potential to grow beyond its roots in Leeds City Council and the NHS in Leeds, into a platform for controlling your personal data from many more sources.

“With all your data in one place, where it can be easily viewed and managed, users control how data from healthcare providers is shared and with whom.”