Transformation Directorate

Improving care through research and innovation

Why data matters to me - Martin Landray

Research using health and care data leads to the discovery of new cures and life-saving treatments. Everything we know about how to treat and care for people today has been learnt from caring for previous patients. NHS and care data has helped to:

  • confirm the link between smoking and cancer
  • achieve the first full hip replacement
  • develop the CT and MRI scanners, and gene therapy
  • successfully trial an artificial pancreas
  • identify the world’s first coronavirus treatment proven to save lives – dexamethasone

Data also helps us to understand how different people respond to different treatments, at different stages of life, so that we can develop the best possible care for each individual. More recent innovations in health care such as the use of artificial intelligence and genomics have the potential to really speed up the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases.

Research organisations across England and the rest of the UK are stepping up efforts to make use of health data to answer key questions about COVID-19. They hope to make discoveries that will save people’s lives. To do so requires safe and secure access to different types of health data, including patient health data and information from clinical trials, biomedical and health research studies.

That’s why we want to:

  • ensure researchers can safely and easily access data to provide innovative solutions to health and care issues for the benefit of all citizens through the use of Secure Data Environments
  • invest in improving the quality and accessibility of at-scale data assets that make the most of the UK’s health and care data
  • establish a new service which will harness the potential of data and digital tools to enable faster, more efficient and effective set-up and delivery of clinical trials
  • support innovators to develop and deliver new data-driven solutions quickly and safely for the benefit of all citizens, staff and the system
  • promote data partnerships that can generate fair returns for health and social care organisations where there are potential benefits to patients, service users, the NHS and wider society
  • provide reassurance to the public that those entrusted with their data are keeping it safe

Case studies and testimonials