‘Data saves lives,’ says Hancock ahead of NHS’ data strategy public consultation
British Health secretary Matt Hancock (Photo by Steve Reigate-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
CLINICIANS should be enabled to use data in new ways to improve patient care and support research for innovative treatments, health secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday (20) as National Health Services (NHS) is set to publish it’s draft of data strategy next week.
Ahead of public consultation, Hancock said that it is needed to be learned from the pandemic about ways to improve the way “our health and care system processes data, giving power to patients and enabling clinicians to use data in new ways to improve patient care and support research for innovative treatments”.
“This pandemic has shown us just how many lives can be saved through effective use of data – we must do all we can to harness this potential and the changes brought about through this strategy will no doubt go on to save countless more lives in the future,” he said.
Millions of patients are set to benefit from the NHS new data sharing plan under which information about the physical, mental and sexual health of the patients will be extracted from GP surgeries into a central database.
Over the last 18 months, data has saved lives and helped ensure better care to people suffering from COVID-19 and other health issues, said NHS, adding that this also ensured doctors and nurses can deliver innovative support in the most effective and efficient way.
NHS also claims that by empowering frontline staff to share data for patient care in a secure way, ground-breaking clinical trials were approved in record time. The move also helped to set up services to care for people in their own homes via remote digital monitoring, thus avoiding lengthy hospital stays.
Data sharing is also said to have enabled rapid research into COVID-19 treatments such as dexamethasone, which has saved over one million lives across the world.
Martin Landray, Professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford and the clinical trials lead at Health Data Research UK, said: “Within 100 days, the RECOVERY trial found that a low-dose steroid treatment called dexamethasone reduced the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. It was the world’s first coronavirus treatment proven to save lives. Estimates are that it may have saved many hundreds of thousands of lives.”