On the 28th June, Curia held the first inquiry session of the NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission. Building on the experience of the pandemic, and chaired by Lord O’Shaughnessy and Professor Bewick, the Commission seeks to:
- Help transform the NHS and industry relationship into one of a trusting, long term ‘innovation partnership’ that benefits patients, the health service, industry and drives economic growth inthe UK
- Accelerate the use of clinically and cost-effective innovation to improve patient health outcomes, increase economic growth and reduce regional and social inequalities across the countr
The first inquiry session centered on the health data ecosystem. The session was split into two sections the first focusing on NHS Staff and best practice and the second on the wider health data ecosystem.
In session one, the commissioners and panelists discussed:
- The strengths and weaknesses of current health infrastructure
- How to support existing NHS staff to use data
- Developing infrastructure requirements to safely store patients’ data
- Ensuring shared care records at an Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) level
Some highlights include:
- Dr Ben Goldacre MBE, Director of the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science, emphasised the need to recruit professionals with strong technical skills into senior NHS leadership roles, not to write the code, but to manage and recruit the people who do. This will “take a couple of years” but it is manageable.
- Breid O’Brien, Director of Innovation & Digital Health at NHSEI, highlighted that the biggest challenge for making data engaging is changing public perceptions of how it is used, and that making data “tell a story” could help to this end.
- Dr Claire Bloomfield, Deputy Director, Centre for Improving Data Collaboration at NHS England, emphasised that as the NHS cannot compete with the expertise from industry and academia, a level of fluidity between organisations and collaborative ways of working is needed to cross-fertilise different areas.
In session two, thought leaders across the health and life sciences discussed:
- The strengths and weaknesses of commercialising data to add value to the NHS
- Using data to both support patients and attract life sciences investment
- How to scale Trusted Research Environments (TREs) by ensuring patient privacy and security
- How to enable and protect patient agency and control while using their data
Some highlights include:
- Shane Tickell, CEO of Templeblack and Co-Founder of Voror Health Technologies, argued that commercialising personal data is perfectly reasonable if we can directly demonstrate the value it is bringing to the NHS.
- Professor Cathie Sudlow, Director of British Heart Foundation (BHF) Data Science Centre, added that there are large, consented research studies which service as good models for how to attract inward investment and yet output benefits to the global population such as the UK Biobank.
- On the topic of enabling patient agency, Dr Goldacre stated that “the starting point has to be that you earn that trust by taking provable, transparent and credible steps to protect patient privacy and being transparent about everything that you do with that data”.
- Shane Tickell stated that it is important to provide people with the ability to ‘opt in and out’ of sharing data throughout their healthcare journey, as this will allow us to appeal to the majority of patients.
What to expect at the Commission’s next inquiry session
Curia will be holding the Commission’s next inquiry session on integration of health services on July 26th. The discussion will involve thought leaders from the NHS, ICSs, industry to discuss how heath care and health systems can operate collaboratively to achieve greater health outcomes.
Find out more
You can also find us on all major social media sites to follow our journey as a Policy Institute and Consultancy seeking to enact reform with a purpose at the heart of Westminster.
If you are interested in finding out more about our inquiry session, then we have uploaded a recording of the full discussion on our YouTube channel which contains many more interesting and innovative insights.