£20m ‘big picture’ data catalyst to unlock medical innovations of the future

Four new projects announced to tackle healthcare challenges in the North of England

Four new health and social care information projects aimed at tackling major health challenges by catalysing ‘big picture’ data have been launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The £20m Connected Health Cities initiative will see the establishment of a world-leading partnership of the region’s universities, teaching hospitals and local authorities, using large-scale data to drive public-sector reform in health and social care across the North of England.

The programme is the first investment of the Government’s Health North programme to unlock healthcare innovations in the English regions with the greatest health challenges.

This will catalyse world-class expertise to deliver, in partnership across the North, a transformational step forward in the integration and deployment of ‘big picture’ data for the benefit of all

It will harness the world expertise of the region’s universities, teaching hospitals and Academic Health Science Networks to transform healthcare by assembling data, experts and technology in secure data facilities to generate new information that shapes health and social services to deliver better outcomes for patients and communities.

This data-intensive information will be fed back to NHS practitioners, service managers, commissioners, public health professionals, local authority planners, researchers, and policy makers to identify variations in patient and population needs.

“Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an exciting and innovative regional network for the North, which will power continuous improvement in health and social care. This will catalyse the world-class expertise of the Yorkshire and Humber’s universities, teaching hospitals, and local authorities to deliver, in partnership across the North, a transformational step forward in the integration and deployment of ‘big picture’ data for the benefit of all.”

Professor Tony Weetman, pro-vice chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health at the University of Sheffield, added: “For a long time the university has championed closer integration between health and social care and this information-sharing initiative could be the catalyst for transforming care for patients across the region.”

The Connected Health Cities will also enable new medical discoveries by working with the national Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, ensuring that benefits can be rapidly shared across other regions.

The Health North programme will be delivered by the Northern Health Science Alliance, a partnership of the leading universities and NHS hospital trusts in the North of England.

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