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New Alliance to promote data in healthcare


A new body has been created to make health data more accessible and improve its quality.

Named the UK Health Data Research Alliance, its founder partners are NHS Digital – provider of information and tech services to the NHS – and Health Data Research UK, the national institute for data science in health.

They said it has been inspired by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, the World Wide Web Consortium and the Human Genome Project, and will bring together organisations and digital health leaders to mobilise the UK’s health data for science and innovation.

Lord O’Shaughnessy, parliamentary under secretary of state for health, said: “Using health data for research has the potential to deliver solutions to the greatest healthcare challenges we face.

“This new alliance brings together the unique data assets across the NHS, and allows access to them by the research community in a safe, secure and ethical framework. From this will flow new treatments and insights which will transform outcomes for patients.”

Early focus

NHS Digital said the Alliance will focus on the best ways to design, use, collect, manage and analyse health data in a responsible way for clinical trials, medical research and innovation. This will include developing an approach to using data to support trials and design systems that allow data from different healthcare organisations to be accessible in real time.

It will also involve building a set of governance policies and standards to open up the information, whilst still ensuring that it is safe, secure and only shared where there is an appropriate legal basis.

Currently only a fraction of NHS and research data is easily accessible to researchers.

Both organisations have encouraged other partners to join.

Image from iStock, Seksun Mongkonkhamsao

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