Last week at The First NHS Conference on Sustainability, Access and Flow, we heard from the CEO of Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust on how he has not spent his full staffing budget this fiscal because he cannot find the staff to fill the positions.

Today's top news story on the BBC that 9% of positions within the NHS are unfilled is probably not news to the people on the front line of the NHS. 

So what can be done? Fast track Visa applications for clinicians? Train more nurses? Promote the profession to those in education making career choices? If you tackle this like a marketing problem, these are all tactics to fill the funnel - but they take time.

Time is not a finite resource when it comes to the health of the NHS. It is imperative to look at where we are now, as long term solutions may be too late.

Last week we saw that some innovators are tracking assets within the NHS to see where clinicians can be unburdened from administration and resources be reallocated accordingly.

There's a lot at stake here, but starting with the data can help deliver incredible results. Whether that is around better scheduling of beds and porters to allow surgeons to work through their lists or about bridging the gaps between hospital and community support. Whether it is about the safety of vulnerable patients or tackling hand hygiene.  The DNA of the NHS lies in the data. Understanding that data is now critical. The alternative is a bit like trying to run Heathrow without air traffic control.