[PDF] Which doctors take up promising ideas? New insights from open data

National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts
National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)
Publication date:
28 January 2014


The report looks at early adoption of promising new ideas across primary care in England and argues that analysing open data can help public services gain a greater understanding of their take up of innovations.   Key findings:

  • No single group of GP practices were serial early adopters of all the innovations reviewed, but groups of early adopters were identified around specific types of innovations.
  • Larger GP practices are in a better position to explore and introduce new innovations, while neighbouring practices tended to have similar rates and patterns of adopting new innovations.
  • GPs rely on a range of resources to identify and learn about innovations – including informal local networks, personal relationships, and information systems. Fellow GPs and national guidance were particularly influential sources of information.
  • Local intermediaries – such as Academic Health Science Networks and Clinical Commissioning Groups – have an important role to play in the adoption process.

This report demonstrates a rising opportunity to inform practitioners and patients by making use of open data. Analysis of primary care open data shows the potential to chart GP surgeries’ uptake of promising innovations in technologies, drugs and practices.

Using open data, this report charts where, when and which GP practices across England have taken-up promising innovations. As well as showing the varied uptake of certain proven drugs, technologies and practices by GP surgeries, the report explores how making use of open data can help people understand trends and differences in service within primary care, and inform patient and practitioner priorities and choices.   The report is based on the analysis of open datasets from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, demographic data, as well as qualitative and quantitative research.