Using patient data in data-driven healthcare technologies – a blog by Engagement Manager Will Navaie

Last updated on 5 Mar 2020

"The use of patient data in the development of healthcare technology is always research. Approval from the HRA is usually required to use patient data in the development of software. We’re here to help you get it right."

Will Navaie

These were the key messages that I was pleased to share at the NHS R&D Forum’s symposium ‘Research but not as we know it’ earlier this week. The focus of the event was on how to manage and deliver emerging types of research such as Complex Innovative Design trials (where multiple research questions can be answered in a single clinical trial) and the development of data-driven healthcare technologies. It was a great opportunity to discuss with colleagues from the Department of Health and Social Care, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Clinical Trials Units and R&D offices how we can realise the potential of newer types of research.

At the HRA it is our duty to protect and promote the interests of patients in health and social care research and this includes the use of their data. One key role for us is to help ensure that researchers accessing patient data are doing so in a legal and ethical fashion. This is the key to maintaining public trust in the NHS as the custodian of the nation’s healthcare data. 

It was really valuable to listen to the feedback from the R&D community, to hear how their organisations understand governance in this area and to hear what else they need from us to ensure that high-quality research in this area benefits everyone. The discussions from the workshop will feed into work our work in this area and help us to frame our upcoming joint guidance in the use of patient data in the development of data-driven healthcare technologies. 

Watch this space!

Will Navaie, Engagement Manager at the HRA
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