Known as the ‘new oil’, the value of data is growing exponentially and with the digital centre of the NHS based in Leeds, the region is fast becoming a hub for public and private sector organisations seeking collaboration on data projects.
At a recent healthcare-tech sector event attended by 80 professionals, 100% of attendees said they believed healthcare data represented a major opportunity for Yorkshire.
The event, hosted by Clarion last week (30 April), which aimed to give insight into big health data dynamics, also revealed that 67% of attendees believed that the data, digital and tech sector offered the greatest potential for the Leeds economy, followed by professional services (17%), healthcare and life sciences (11%), and manufacturing and energy/environment (each 0.5%).
Richard Irvine, head of data at NHS Digital, was among those discussing the opportunities. The organisation, which has its head office in Leeds and employs 3000 staff, of which 2,000 are based in the region, is the national information and technology partner to the health and social care system. It is working to collect and analyse health and care data, enabling customers to deliver world-class research in order to improve the health of the nation.
Richard explains: “In the UK, we’re ahead of the curve in terms of healthcare data and have an incredibly rich supply of information with many national data flows feeding into NHS Digital. We’re working in collaboration with other public and private sector organisations to disprupt the market in order to encourage innovation and stimulate growth in the technical health data sector.
“These data will inform research, planning and predictions for the future, helping to drive change and provide benefits both in terms of improving health outcomes and also delivering NHS cost efficiencies. We need to ensure that we exploit these national assets by building the capability to analyse date at scale – it’s very exciting to be at the forefront of creating a regional data innovation hub, delivering health insight which could have a huge impact on the future health of the UK.”
A survey of the attendees also showed that all believed more should be done to promote the regional healthcare brand, and 98% agreed with the ethical use of healthcare data to support the cost of the NHS.
Other speakers at the event included Bryn Sage, CEO of Inhealthcare which delivers digital health and remote monitoring technology; Giles Hodgson, business development director for Leeds-based Steepers, a provider of orthotic, prosthetic and assistive technology products and services; and Arsalan Karim, director of research and development at Clinova which has launched an innovative healthcare app.
David Cunningham, partner in Clarion’s commercial practice, commented: “As home to the largest concentration of health data assets in the UK as well as having one of the highest concentrations of informatics professionals globally, Yorkshire has a key role to play in optimising this valuable resource. The region already boasts an impressive line-up of public and private sector organisations which are working together to drive innovation and optimise the potential of this valuable resource.
“With the healthcare sector both here in the UK and globally facing more issues and challenges than ever before, it is vital that we take advantage of our strength in big health data and analytics in order to ensure that Yorkshire is at the forefront of delivering innovation.”