The chief executive of NHS Digital has been named as one of the Global Top 100 Data Visionaries by HotTopics.

Sarah Wilkinson features on the list, which celebrates those who have harnessed the power of data within their organisation or industry.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Wilkinson has led NHS Digital to help the NHS manage its response to the virus.

This includes ensuring fast access to accurate data, supporting research projects with deep data analysis and expertise and ensuring that rich data visualisation has given exerts access to data that they can use to swiftly understand the progression of the pandemic.

NHS Digital’s work has helped to identify the additional risks of coronavirus for people from a black and minority ethnic (BAME) background; to identify a drug which can help those seriously ill with the disease; to map cases across the country using 111 data and; to design and run the Shielded Patients List, which identifies those who are most clinically vulnerable to coronavirus.

Wilkinson said: “NHS Digital holds a privileged and critical role at the centre of the health and care system, as the national custodian of clinical data and the independent producer of most our official national statistics for the system.

“This data has extraordinary value, the NHS being one of the largest unified healthcare providers in the world. It is both very exciting and a huge responsibility to understand that there are so many insights available through investigation of this data that we have not yet identified.

“I’m inspired by the work that has been done within our organisation in recent years, and am thrilled to receive this recognition on behalf of the many brilliant and dedicated staff in NHS Digital.”

Wilkinson spoke to Digital Health in April 2020 and said some healthcare technology which has been rolled out at scale in response to the Covid-19 outbreak is “here to stay” but there will be some processes which will need to be reviewed.