The initial delivery phase will focus on proof of concept projects across four areas to define the Minimum Viable Product required to help get the data flowing and facilitate bespoke data linkages and analysis in a safe and secure manner:

  • Discover Data: a single point of access providing a view of available datasets, enabled by federated metadata management and search tools to provide improved visibility, comparability and navigation of existing datasets.
  • Access Data: that retains data controllers’ requirements but helps harmonise processes, reduce transaction costs and improve access to more isolated, important dataset
  • Syndicated Authentication to enable interoperability.  This will enable a single point of access across multiple data sets and workspaces based on common authentication.  The interoperability support will also extend to support mapping between datasets.
  • Privacy and interoperability through de-identification where appropriate, in line with information governance requirements. Deploying best in class de-identification and encryption software across the Alliance will enable secure novel data linkages across a wide range of datasets to meet researcher needs while ensuring privacy of sensitive health data.

This common technology layer will build on infrastructure and best practices that already exist in the UK. Wherever possible, we are working in partnership to evolve existing assets and commercial agreements. Where new solutions are needed, we are going to market for existing ‘best of breed’ solutions and will only custom develop where a suitable product or application does not already exist. The approach for each proof of concept area will be set out in the Digital Innovation Hub Programme Prospectus that is due to be published in May 2019.

Later stages of the development of the Infrastructure Layer will also include technology solutions to enable the re-use of mapping carried out as part of planned research projects, as well as codifying interoperability issues between different datasets, for example through the calculation of an interoperability score which would be available to other researchers considering working with the same datasets.  While the scope of the programme does not include fixing the coding problems for clinical intervention or defining a common data model, these challenges may be addressed through the work of the Digital Innovation Hubs.