Data specialists from the Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science are set to receive £400,000 in funding and join a national network aimed at tackling some of the biggest challenges facing UK health and care services.
The centre, which includes NHS Grampian and the University of Aberdeen, will join the Networked Data Lab. Created by the Health Foundation, the lab is a first of its kind network which brings together analytical teams from across the UK to better understand national health challenges.
The lab will focus on addressing some of the most pressing current issues, such as the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable people who are shielding or identifying the needs of those with mental health issues.
Professor Corri Black, co-director of the Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science, commented: “The Networked Data Lab programme will enhance our local relationships, demonstrating the benefits of data-informed decision making where the local context and knowledge is so important.
“The Networked Data Lab will also enable us to work together at scale across the network to address the big challenges in health and care. The recent experiences with Covid-19 have demonstrated the real need for both approaches.”
Researchers said that while there is already a significant wealth of data that could be used to contextualise the UK’s health needs, the information available is often fragmented and, as such, fails to provide a clear picture.
The Networked Data Lab’s partners are already successfully linking data locally, and by combining expertise, knowledge and experience, the Health Foundation hopes to create unique insights.
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Long-term, it is hoped these will help decision-makers at both a local and national level to anticipate the needs of local communities, improve services and design innovative new approaches to delivering care.
Sarah Deeny, assistant director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, added: “Data has played a fundamental role in understanding the challenges presented by the virus and in finding innovative ways to solve problems.
“But these complex challenges extend beyond the current crisis – the same innovation will be needed in future to ensure that health and care services meet people’s needs.”