Our Purpose

What is DataLoch’s purpose?

In the DataLoch team, we believe that putting data at the centre of responses to health and care system challenges is critical to improving services through research, innovation and planning.

Our approach will lead to better decision-making, research, and support for colleagues on the front line. We will do this by:

  • bringing together health and social care data for the South-East Scotland region;
  • working with experts in health and social care to understand and improve this data; and
  • providing safe access to data for researchers.

What challenges will DataLoch help solve?

In common with the rest of the UK, the South-East Scotland region is facing a number of major health and social care challenges. These include: an ageing population; increasing numbers of people living with long-term and often multiple conditions; delays in hospital discharge; and ever-increasing costs of medicines. Meeting such challenges requires new innovative solutions.

Bringing together key health and social care data will allow a holistic data-driven approach to the prevention and treatment of different conditions, as well as the provision of health and social care services more broadly.

Doctor sitting at a computer

Our purpose blockquote

"Insights from routinely collected data can play a crucial role in improving the health of people in the South-East Scotland region. This requires secure, timely access to high-quality, linked health and social care data, and support from the latest analytical approaches and technologies. In providing these tools, DataLoch will support existing services, new research, and innovation to improve public health and create a better health and social care system."

Professor Nick Mills, British Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiology and Senior Responsible Officer for Data-Driven Innovation in Health & Social Care at the University of Edinburgh (meet Nick on the Meet the Team page)


Our purpose bottom block

Who are the partners involved in DataLoch?

DataLoch is a secure data service that supports health and social care priorities and is funded under a ten-year Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) programme. Find out more through the DDI programme website.  

The regional partners within the DDI programme include the six local authorities of Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian, West Lothian, Fife and the Scottish Borders, the University of Edinburgh, as well as the region’s NHS health boards of Fife, Borders and Lothian. So far, DataLoch has been developed by the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian; the other DDI regional partners will join the DataLoch partnership in the near future.

How is the public involved in DataLoch?

In support of the team’s aim to operate transparently, people from the local region form our Public Reference Group, which provides important insights and advice, as well as influences how we work. All partner organisations involved in DataLoch have a responsibility to the public in the way health and social care data are found, hosted and used.

About the Data

Where is DataLoch in its development?

After two years of development, we fully launched the DataLoch service in July 2022.

As well as service-management requests from the NHS, DataLoch also considers applications from researchers who wish to securely access health and social care data from the South-East Scotland region. Researchers can be from private- and third-sector organisations, as well as from academic or clinical settings. Applicants need to meet a number of key governance criteria to ensure their purposes are legitimate and in the public interest.

How to Apply

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