Reading through the Sunday Times Magazine, Sunday before last and there was an article about the inquiry into Stafford Hospital and the failings there.
Interestingly at the end of the piece, the writer Tim Rayment mentions the lack of comprehensive information about hospitals that would allow patients to make informed choices about treatment.
“NHS Choices publishes the overall mortality rates for a hospital, and you can find out if wards have internet access and whether mobile phones are permitted.
“But if my mother was going into hospital tomorrow, that is not what I’d want to know. I’d like to see the nurse-to-patient ratio for each ward, updated in real time; I’d like the data on pressure sores; the wound infection rate for a particular surgical procedure; a constantly updated survey rating the satisfaction of patients and relatives.”
It’s just one person but it suggests there might be a real appetite for data journalism but only if people can see a relevance to their lives.
It’s the intersection between geographically located data (a pain in the neck to do but probably worth) and lowest level available data.
This is where the journalism comes in, deciding between what is interesting and what is interesting to people.
So got to put hospital data on the list alongside schools and parking as things to look into and gather data on. This is why I’m not sure about putting too much effort into spending over £500 as I’m not sure yet how to make it relevant to people’s lives.