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Network Autumn 2016: Chief Executive's comment

Information from health records holds huge promise for improving healthcare delivery and advancing research. But it’s important that people trust the way their data is managed.

In response to recommendations by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the National Data Guardian, on the use of patient data, we are supporting an independent taskforce – hosted by the Wellcome Trust – that will develop a framework for transparent discussions with the public about how data can be used to improve health. The taskforce will develop tools to encourage more effective dialogue.

Showcasing studies and data initiatives that have harnessed the vast potential of patient data to transform healthcare will also help improve confidence in how our information is handled (read more on page 16 (PDF, 6.13MB)).

To capitalise on the UK’s unique research strengths and data assets we need to develop robust methods, skills and expertise to support and build on the excellent progress made by informatics initiatives. That’s why I’m delighted that the MRC is going to invest £37.5 million to create a new institute for health and biomedical informatics research, in which we expect a number of other funders to participate, to transform the UK’s medical data science capacity.

John Savill

MRC Chief Executive