Health data research continues to show us how it can be used to better understand diseases and conditions so that we can make the right changes and improve health and care. Hear from a range of people in the video, courtesy of Understanding Patient Data, who share their thoughts on why we need to talk about patient data.

There are lots of examples of how health data research has improved our knowledge of health and care and has helped solve challenging health problems. The use of patient data has helped:

  • Diagnose rare disease – for example, whole genome sequencing has pinpointed the underlying genetic changes responsible for conditions in many patients through the 100,000 genome project
  • Improve performance of health systems – for example, NHS data has been used in research to reliably detect unacceptable variation in healthcare provision, such as in the case of Mid Staffordshire NHS Hospitals Trust
  • Identify disease early – for example, machine learning technology has been used on thousands of eye scans to identify signs of eye disease and recommend how patients should be referred for care
  • Study the effects of immunisation – for example, a comprehensive research study proved that the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine is not associated with autism, which validated a public health policy that has saved a significant number of lives
  • Better understand why certain populations are affected differently by the same disease – for example, a number of different datasets are being used to explore why BAME groups have an increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes
  • Assess the safety of medical interventions – for example, use of comprehensive databases has shown that transfusions of blood from people who go onto develop cancer do not increase the risk of cancers in the blood recipients
  • Make connections between disease and lifestyle choices – for example, NHS data was used to comprehensively establish the link between smoking and cancer