DHSC has unveiled their new health in data strategy entitled: “Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data”. It is hoped that this will provide faster, more innovative treatments and diagnosis for millions of patients. The new strategy focuses on seven key principles in order to build on the advances in data-driven, innovative healthcare seen during the pandemic to deliver transformative healthcare.
The principles are:
- improving trust in the health and care system’s use of data
- giving health and care professionals the information they need to provide the best care
- improving data for adult social care
- supporting local decision-makers with data
- empowering researchers with the data they need to develop life-changing treatments and diagnostics
- working with partners to develop innovations that improve health and care
- developing the right technical infrastructure
Understandably, many patients have concerns about the security of their data as well as privacy issues. Therefore, secure data environments will be made default when providing access to de-identified data for research purposes. This ensures that all personal information is confined to a secure server and can only be utilised for agreed research objectives.
As such, £200 million has been invested in trusted research environments (TREs), which are secure data environments, to help researchers access anonymous NHS data in the most secure fashion. This will allow pioneering lifesaving treatments and diagnostics to reach NHS patients faster through clinical trials and generate more diverse research data which will help tackle health inequalities. These developments will both be crucial in tackling the backlog going forward.
£25 million will also invested this year to improve access to digital social care technology across England. This will include adopting digital social care records (DSCR) which capture patient data at the point of care and allow it to be shared across different care settings – therefore aiding digital monitoring tools which are increasingly prevalent and can provide more convenient, targeted care.
NHS Digital CEO Simon Bolton said, “The ‘Data saves lives’ strategy is a significant milestone in enabling us to deliver the digital transformation of the NHS, where data and technology support a health and care service fit for the future.
“Our TRE is already supporting life-saving clinical research and innovation, and we are working to deliver a new and improved national TRE service with improved accessibility, and the highest standards of privacy and security.”
You can read the full strategy publication here.