Innovation, data and healthcare - part 1
Healthcare is an area where the opportunities for data to transform the sector have perhaps been over-hyped, but only few people doubt that the industry will be transformed by data.
As healthcare and bioscience is one area I know about, I am looking at this as a route into the broader question of data and innovation. This is a timely route to take. This week, the Department of Health published their long-awaited Information Strategy. This foreshadows a consultation later this year on using NHS records for research, as well as EU changes to data protection legislation due to come into effect shortly.
This post and the next will try and make sense of the breadth and depth of this issue. It brings together a wide range of interested communities, data types and issues. This makes it a good illustration for the spectrum of data problems & opportunities, but also makes it quite hard to get to grips with.
Following the example of Louis Coiffait at Pearson, I thought I would start by trying to list as many (UK) health data sources as I could think of. Data.gov.uk already lists 1,273 health-related datasets, although most of these relate to spending by health bodies, or to national surveys. My (incomplete) list is below - I'd welcome any comments and additions:
- NHS Trust records
- GP practice records
- Pharmacies - sales data and prescriptions
- NHS Direct
- Google searches - such as Google Flu trends
- Medical device data - pacemakers, pedometers, blood glucose measures, etc.
- NICE - data on treatment efficacy and QALY values
- MHRA - data on regulatory approvals
- NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) - research and clinical trial records
- Pharmaceutical companies - clinical trials, pre-clinical tests and research data
- Universities - research data and papers
- NHS Evidence - a site for NICE to share evidence on health and social care practices
- Patients Like Me - shared patient data, added by patients
- Medical Research Council - funded research and impact data (EVAL)
- BBSRC and EPSRC - both also fund research relevant to healthcare
- Ambulance call out data
- Fitness & health-tracking apps e.g. Runkeeper, Fitbit
- Medical Research Charities - Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and many others - information from patients as well as from the research they fund
In the next post, I'll attempt to get to grips with the possible uses of all this data, and the link to innovation.