What do the public think of linking NHS and council datasets?

Linking datasets has the potential to improve services in Islington through an improved, holistic understanding of the population by bringing together health and council data. The data is pseudonymised and secured in a ‘safe haven’, where access is granted through a rigorous process, largely for research purposes to understand social determinants of health.

Snap Out conducted focus groups with Islington residents and service users to explore their views toward linking datasets. Due to the complex nature of the project, an innovative research design was needed to simplify the concepts to spark interesting discussions.

Snap Out worked on the project, led by Islington Council, in partnership with Islington Clinical Commissioning Group, North East London Commissioning Support Unit, and University College London and sponsored by the Health Foundation through the Advanced Applied Analytics programme.


Co-design session with the CLARHC group at the outset of the project

Designed and led innovative co-design card-sorting focus groups to discuss disadvantages and advantages of linking datasets

Mini focus groups and interviews with Islington residents: older people, young people and BAME community

This research project was innovative in that a small number of councils have sought to link data across NHS records and engage the public on this topic. We spoke to a wide range of people across Islington to explore linked datasets and the positive and negative aspects of this through a card-sorting activity.


“Snap Out conducted research with Islington residents for us to explore how linking datasets would be perceived. I was impressed with how they took a complex project and distilled it into an easy-to-use card-sorting activity that generated relevant and interesting insights. They were flexible and adaptable throughout the project and worked well as part of our team.”

Public Health, Islington Council