Fourteen of the UK's hospital trusts that have experienced persistently high mortality rates employ staff who struggle to understand how data can be harnessed improve service levels.
This is what Professor Sir Bruce Keogh found in his report into the quality of care and treatment provided by the hospital trusts in question.
So what is the NHS doing to redress the situation?
An NHS England spokesperson told Computing that discussions are taking place with the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) about quantifying the nature and scale of any data-handling skills shortages.
Ovum analyst Charlotte Davies is convinced that the healthcare industry has a chronic shortage of individuals who can analyse complex data sets.
"It's something that healthcare organisations have to look at to invest in this skills set. The NHS organisations that are more advanced and have good leadership have already caught on to this concept as they will have an IT team and a special health and informatics team, which both work together and report to a medical director - University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is a good example of that," she said.
According to Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT)'s transformation associate director, Orlando Agrippa (pictured), the NHS does not currently have the requisite data analysis skills across the board.
"Data analysis in the NHS is not done at a forensic level - a lot of the analysis that is done is based on individuals who have learnt over the past 10 to 20 years how they should analyse data in a set way - what the NHS needs is individuals who can extract, analyse and triangulate data.
CHUFT has produced a DVD that explains to staff how best to use data to improve their performance, and has set up training courses in data analysis.
"They are short courses for a few days for people who want to be an analyst. Before the session starts we notify the people of a [hypothetical] problem that is occurring in the organisation, and what they have to do by the end of the course is to be able to crack the problem using numbers, analysis and data," he said.
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