On 20 October 2021, DataLoch became one of the newest members of the UK Health Data Research Alliance (“the Alliance”).

Members of the UK Health Data Alliance come from across the health care and research sector, including the NHS, medical research charities, academia, health data research hubs and AI Centres of Excellence. Member organisations work together to develop and coordinate the adoption of standards, tools and technologies for the secure and trustworthy use of data in health research.

Benefits of collaboration

In focusing on a standardised approach to the use of health data across the UK – as well as increasing the range and quality of data that are available – the Alliance’s work has already delivered notable benefits for research and innovation.

This year has seen the joint production and publications of Green Papers on key issues for the sector, including: alignment on the use of Trusted Research Environments, policy on Data Standards, and – based on recommendations from HDR UK’s Public Advisory Board – how to engage patients and members of the public to improve transparency. Currently, over 700 datasets are represented on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway.

Next steps

In the coming weeks, the DataLoch team will join with existing Alliance partners, collaborating and contributing to projects that will continue the drive for transparency. As well as the forthcoming publication of White Papers on Trusted Research Environments and Data Standards, the Alliance will also be publishing its recommendations for a consistent standard for Data Use Registers that will enable anyone to access overviews of the research projects that are facilitated by Alliance members.

Moving forward

Alliance member organisations will also continue to make the datasets they host as “custodians” available to be listed on the Gateway, the UK’s unified platform to discover and request access to health data. This demonstrates a combined commitment to increasing safe access to health data for research that has the potential to deliver significant public benefit, as we have seen during the pandemic.

Each of these activities are important components in achieving a shared vision to securely unite the UK’s health datasets; thereby improving the ability for researchers to discover, access and analyse data to realise the insights that will ultimately enhance health care practice.

 

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

"The DataLoch team is immensely proud to be one of the newest members of the UK Heath Data Research Alliance. Joining the Alliance represents an important step in our development as we seek to further enable improvements in health and social care through our recently established and secure data service. We look forward, with great enthusiasm, to the opportunities of engaging researchers and innovators, as well as collaborating with other Alliance members on exploring societal perspectives around priorities for health data research and transparency.”

 

David Seymour, Alliance Executive Director, Health Data Research UK:

“The continued growth in members enriches the Alliance. It is testament to the value of working together across the sector. By co-ordinating our approach to standards, tools and technologies, we will continue to improve how we make health data available in an efficient, secure and trustworthy way for research and development that can change people’s lives. I look forward to working with our new and existing members on our programme of work in the coming months.”

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