NHS to launch digital hub to share patient data with researchers

The UK government has invested GBP£37 million into developing digital hubs that will transform the way in which scientists access NHS data.

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The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has backed the development of The Digital Innovations Hubs, with a GBP£37 million Industrial Strategy Government investment. The program is led by Health Data Research UK (London, UK) and will enable researchers and innovators to access data from the NHS, universities and social care, and deliver more efficient clinical trials.

The complete set of centers across the UK, which will make up the Digital Innovations Hubs, is expected to be established by the end of the year. The Hub will allow scientists to combine data and real-world evidence across the health service to answer the most important and complex questions about people’s health in the future.

“These hubs are a major part of our modern Industrial Strategy, building on the UK’s world leading life sciences sector and health service to the benefit of researchers, industry and patients,” commented Business Secretary, Greg Clarke.

This Hub will be the first time where data from some of the UK’s major health providers, including the NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be available in one place. With this, experts can research the factors behind many common diseases and identify data trends that could lead to new cures or treatments, as well as finding a way to diagnose earlier.

“It is absolutely crucial that researchers are able to access the NHS’s world-leading anonymized data so they can develop cutting-edge treatments and solutions to some of healthcare’s biggest challenges. This will mean people can receive new medicines quicker and get more timely diagnoses which will ultimately save lives,” remarked Health Minster, Nicola Blackwood.

Currently, the program is being tested in 10 projects across the UK. For example, in Manchester, patients with already implanted pacemakers and defibrillators are having their health data analyzed in real time to detect signs of deterioration earlier and prevent hospital admission.

As the project becomes established, all centers will be responsible for ensuring responsible access to anonymized health data in a trustworthy and ethical way, by involving patients to ensure that benefits are returned to the NHS for greater public good.

“We are excited about the tremendous opportunities that Digital Innovation Hub Program brings to the future of health research and innovation in the UK. Working closely with UK Research and Innovation, our focus in delivering these new centers of excellence is first and foremost on ensuring that patients reap the rewards and are reassured that all data are used ethically and responsibly,” concluded Andrew Morris, Director of Health Data Research UK.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/investment-to-transform-access-to-data-to-help-pioneer-new-patient-treatments

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