The Health Foundation will begin exploring the impact of data analytics and technology on health and care in the UK.

The independent charity has launched its Data Analytics for Better Health strategy, which aims to tackle real-world problems that affect people’s health and develop a greater understanding of the role that technology and data plays in daily life.

The strategy sets out how the Health Foundation aims to help policymakers, practitioners and the wider public get to grip with “seismic changes” taking place in the health sector.

A key part of the strategy is to establish major new partnerships and research initiatives, and to collaborate with innovative organisations to take the agenda forward.

It is already working with Health Data Research UK, the Alan Turing Institute and NHSX.

While many of the impacts of data and technology on health and care are positive, they also have the potential to exacerbate health inequalities, and increase demand for an overstretched health and social care system, according to the Foundation.

The charity’s data team will conduct research and analysis of these issues, and develop innovative ways to address them.

Dr Adam Steventon, director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, said: “Data is being used to drive innovation in ways that can revolutionise health care, including early disease detection, easier access to care services and encouraging health promoting behaviours.

“But such technological advances also carry the risk of harm to patients.

“As a nation we need to advance our understanding of these fast-moving changes. This new programme of work will help us to do that, enabling us to explore how analytics and data-driven technology can create better heath and care for people across the UK.”

The Health Foundation’s vision:

  • A data and technology ecosystem that innovates in response to UK health and care priorities
  • Analytics and data-driven technology are used to help reduce health inequalities
  • Effective monitoring of the impact of analytics and data-driven technology on health, and the right regulation
  • The potential value of data for health and care is realised
  • A flourishing, and responsible, innovation ecosystem

The strategy also aims to ensure the health and social care system maximises the value that data holds to continue to champion better analytics across the sector through funding, networks and communities.

It will also help share data analytics tools and methods through events, resources, publications, and collaborating with others.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation, added: “The field is moving very fast, with huge opportunities and risks for health and health care.

“As an independent charitable foundation, this new investment will help us work with others to help shape the agenda as objectively as possible. It builds on the major data analytics capability and insights we’ve developed over the last five years.”

The announcement follows the establishment of the Foundation’s Networked Data Lab, a project which aims to build a network of data specialists across the country to work on shared challenges in health and care.