Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Our Hub for Eye Health INSIGHT, Prof. Alastair Denniston, alongside Hussein Ibrahim, Xiaoxuan Liu, Nevine Zariffa and Prof Andrew D Morris, recently released their Viewpiont in The Lancet Digital Health on ‘Health data poverty’.

In this Viewpoint, Prof. Alastair Denniston and fellow authors discuss the power of data-driven digital health technologies in transforming health care and how these tools have the potential to provide everyone, everywhere, with equitable access to expert-level care, narrowing the global health and wellbeing gap.

The authors assert that health data poverty is a threat to global health which could even lead to data-driven digital health technology harm. The authors argue that the time to act is now to avoid creating a digital health divide that exacerbates existing health-care inequalities and to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital era.



leaving no one behind in the digital health era

Health data poverty: an assailable barrier to equitable digital health care

Notes for editors

Health data poverty: the inability for individuals, groups, or populations to benefit from a discovery or innovation due to the scarcity of representative data.

About Health Data Research UK (HDR UK)

HDR UK is the national institute for health data science. Our mission is to unite the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives. HDR UK is funded by UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care in England and equivalents in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and leading medical research charities.

HDR UK was set up in 2018 to support research on health data at scale to advance our understanding of disease and enable new discoveries that will ultimately improve health and care. We have established national research programmes that use data at scale, and we are building an infrastructure to enable the responsible access and analysis of this data. Our work is structured around three themes:

  • Uniting health data – which includes the UK Health Data Research Alliance and the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway.
  • Improving health data – which includes tools, methods, Health Data Research Hubs and the BHF Data Science Centre.
  • Using health data – which includes research discoveries and skills development across four national priority areas: Understanding the Causes of Disease, Clinical Trials, Public Health and Better Care.

We are delivering this strategy through our inclusive, team-oriented One Institute ethos – bringing together NHS, universities, research institutes and charities – built on our values.



Twitter: @HDR_UK


INSIGHT is a health data research hub focused on eye health and associated conditions. We are one of seven hubs set up by the UK government to speed up research for new medicines and treatments, support quicker diagnoses and potentially save lives.

​We are committed to involving the public and patients in how INSIGHT works and its decision-making process. Find out more about our public and patient involvement and engagement.

​The health data research hubs are funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund with the aim of creating a UK-wide system for the safe and responsible use of health-related data. The hubs are overseen by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), the national institute for health data science.



Twitter: @INSIGHTeyehub