NHS Trusts could improve service and cut costs with effective data integration, according to a US-based healthcare company.
Humana, which specialises in collecting and analysing healthcare data to reveal regional trends, is carrying out trials with a number of trusts across the UK as part of a drive by the Department of Health to improve efficiency.
IT director, Ramu Kannan, said, "There have been some big changes in the NHS recently.
"Primary care trusts have been made commissioners, so they need to contract with providers of healthcare such as GPs, hospitals and ambulance trusts.
"But they lack the necessary expertise to be able to do everything, and the government is opening up a tender for companies to support them."
By taking data from GPs and demographic data, as well as diagnosis, medication and treatment data, and integrating everything, Trusts will be able to see a clearer picture of health in their region.
The data can help them predict if a patient is likely to become ill - and work to prevent it - as well as allowing them to see where resources need to be spent.
By working out the likely occurrences of different illnesses, trusts can plan financially and avoid ever-deepening debts.
Automating processes can help with the quality of data the collected and free up staff time, and integrated data can make it easy to see where errors or anomalies are occurring.
Kannan said, "Trusts have previously used guesswork to decide what services to commission. The NHS has been sustained by continued over-funding from the government, but when that funding is turned off, they will need to become more sustainable."