Credits: Leontina Postelnicu
London, UK] Health Data Research UK (HDR-UK) will lead the delivery of a new Digital Innovation Hub programme that will allow the industry to develop innovative solutions and treatments to diagnose diseases earlier by using real-world evidence from the health service.
Sir John Bell’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy from August 2017 set out a vision to create up to five hubs covering regions of three to five million people that would enable access to primary, secondary, tertiary, social care and community data. The ultimate goal, however, is to cover ‘the whole of the UK’.
The programme is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) from data to early diagnosis and precision medicine challenge, managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), bringing together world-leading research stakeholders to tackle major industrial and societal issues.
A spokesperson for HDR-UK confirmed that the new institute, led by Professor Andrew Morris, would ‘commence its leadership’ of the Digital Innovation Hub project in August this year, reporting to the ISCF programme board.
“We will work in close collaboration with partners to deliver the Digital Innovation Hubs, including NHS England, NHS Digital, the National Institute of Health Research and equivalent bodies in the devolved administrations," the spokesperson added.
HDR-UK is already said to be working closely with the Local Health and Care Record Exemplar programme in England, through which three regions will receive up to £7.5m during the next two years in a bid to improve the availability and flow of health and care data.
“All Digital Innovation Hubs will operate within the highest standards of data security, privacy and ethical approval incorporating successful precedents that satisfy, inter alia, guidance provided by the Health Research Authority, Information Commissioner’s Office and National Data Guardian.
“It will comply with the new Data Protection Regulations, protecting data privacy and individual rights and representing the interests of users as well as the public and private sectors, with open membership, open book governance and accountability.
“Public engagement and trust will be essential,” HDR-UK told BJ-HC.
The Office for Life Sciences said the hubs would ‘enhance the UK’s global competitiveness in clinical trials’ and create ’a unique business environment’.
HDR-UK declined to comment on the potential development of a national framework that would outline conditions for commercial value to be derived from these datasets, but confirmed that the hubs would ‘build on established models’.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recently said that the Crown Commercial Service ‘should commission a review, from the Alan Turing Institute or other expert bodies, to set out a procurement model for algorithms developed with private sector partners which fully realises the value for the public sector’ in its latest report from the Algorithms in decision-making inquiry.
Detailed timelines on the Digital Innovation Hub programme will be provided later on this year.