Seven new research hubs were announced by Health Data Research UK, which will focus on improving the lives of patients, specifically with Crohn’s disease, cancer and asthma.
Clinicians, researchers and patients will work with companies within each of the seven hubs from October this year, which will support research aiming to improve the understanding of the diseases, speeding up processes of getting the ground-breaking treatments to people across the UK, and also enabling new health discoveries.
All Research partnerships, whether from academics, charities or commercial companies, will join the NHS with a wealth of expertise speeding up research collaborations. This will support more timeous diagnoses, and speed up research for new treatments and medicines, which will ultimately save lives.
The NHS information needs to be managed correctly, so the design of research can be controlled and to ensure that all the benefits from this agenda will be made available to the UK public. The public’s trust needs to be earned, and will include involving patients as well as the public to make decisions about how data will be accessed and used.
It is for these reasons that the NHS is working to develop the right ethical frameworks across the system, and provide guidance for the NHS that is cemented on the NHS values. As part of this, the NHS made clear their intentions using the code of conduct for artificial intelligence and other data-driven technologies months before they announced their plans to host a new artificial intelligence lab. This outlined their guidelines that technology companies would have to meet a high standard of principles to safe keep patient data
NHS England is working together with the independent group “Understanding Patient Data” (hosted by the Wellcome Trust), to speak to citizen’s and ask the question: “what constitutes a fair partnership between the NHS and researchers, charities and industry on uses of NHS data (patient and operational)?” By doing this, the NHS can test different commercial models against standards and principals on which UK citizens are not prepared to compromise, and ultimately decide on the best ways to deliver the promised benefits.
The NHS goals are to make the NHS more efficient, improve outcomes of patients, and make the NHS more cost effective.
A Centre of Expertise is a commitment made by the NHSX, which will provide specialist legal and commercial advice to NHS organisations who enter data agreements. This centre will develop standard guidance and contracts, and ensure the NHS can deliver all the benefits promised for patients and the NHS.
Healthcare can be transformed by the better implementation of data between the NHS and others. The care organisations and the NHS have an obligation to protect patient data, but also to make the best use of this valuable resource as patient lives are on the line.
The NHSX is committed to making the NHS the world leaders in data driven healthcare. And the announcement of the data research hubs is a big step in the right direction, and will be part of turning this goal into a reality.