Government and charities inject £19m to improve data research for country\'s top medical conditions
Research into medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease will get a boost under a new £19m scheme to build four e-Health centres of excellence.
The virtual centres, in London, Manchester, Dundee and Swansea, will be funded by the Government and charitable organisations and will be made up of researchers who will become experts at analysing UK health data and finding ways to use that information to improve patient care and public health.
The centres will link information in NHS health records with other forms of research and routinely-collected data, and are intended to keep the UK at the forefront of global medical research.
This is a watershed moment for data research, which I believe will deliver the benefits of e-Health research, improving patient care over the coming years
Researchers will be able to combine this information to try to identify more effective treatments, improve drug safety, assess risks to public health, and study the causes of diseases and disability.
The consortium behind the scheme, led by the Medical Research Council and involving Cancer Research UK, also intends to form a network to capitalise on the expertise in the centresand to encourage wider collaborations among UK and international researchers.
Medical Research Council chief executive, Professor Sir John Savill, said: "This is a watershed moment for data research and for the Medical Research Council, which I believe will deliver the benefits of e-Health research, improving patient care over the coming years.
"The way in which the partner organisations have come together to invest in e-Health underpins its importance and will help to establish the UK as a world leader in this field."
These centres provide an opportunity to develop the next generation of researchers in this field and to allow researchers to undertake ground-breaking research due to the availability of secure, high-quality data in a way that has not been previously possible
Dr Fiona Reddington, Cancer Research UK's head of clinical and population research funding, added: “This is an exciting time for e-Health research as linking data becomes an increasingly important and routine way in which science is undertaken.
"The more we learn about cancer the more its complexity is revealed and it is increasingly clear that further progress depends significantly on sharing and integrating the vast amounts of data being generated.
"These centres provide an opportunity to develop the next generation of researchers in this field and to allow researchers to undertake ground-breaking research due to the availability of secure, high-quality data in a way that has not been previously possible."