The ambition

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the regulator of doctors in the UK. It aims to protect patients and improve medical education and practice. It collects data about individual doctor’s personal details, qualifications and fitness to practice. The GMC asked Firetail to conduct a piece of research to understand how organisations can make use of large datasets – especially in how to use data to manage and predict risk.

Our approach

Partnering with big data and data science specialists Mastodon C, we identified and conducted in-depth interviews with peer organisations, including other regulators, commercial companies and central government bodies. We spoke with Ordnance Survey, the Office for National Statistics, Experian and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency among others. We developed insights into the business models supporting peers’ data products, how the GMS uses data to predict risks, and legal, ethical and practical considerations for sharing data. 

As a result of this, we made recommendations about how to use data for predictive risk management by filling gaps in existing data assets. We identified choices and approaches to help the GMC develop its data products.

The impact

Our research has helped the GMC to develop its next data strategy. The regulator will also be publishing new open access data tools. These will provide further information about doctors to the public later in 2017.


GMC’s data explorer tool >