Independent charity The Health Foundation has launched a Networked Data Lab to address the biggest healthcare problems facing the UK.

Five organisations have joined the lab which brings together analytical teams from across the country.

It will focus on the most pressing challenges, such as understanding how to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable people who are shielding or identifying the unmet need of those with severe mental illness.

The partner organisations include:

  • The Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science (ACHDS) which includes NHS Grampian and the University of Aberdeen
  • Public Health Wales, NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS), Swansea University (SAIL Databank) and Social Care Wales (SCW)
  • Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP), Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI), Imperial College London (ICL), and North West London CCGs
  • Liverpool CCG, Healthy Wirral Partnership and Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Leeds CCG and Leeds City Council

Sarah Deeny, assistant director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, said: “What has been clear throughout the Covid-19 crisis, is that high-quality and comprehensive data and information are often the key to solving our most pressing health and care issues.

“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.”

The lab aims to improve access to a wealth of fragmented data sources from GPs, hospitals and local authorities.

The partner organisations were chosen for their proven success in successfully linking data locally.

By combining their expertise the Health Foundation is aiming to create unique insights from the data to help national and local decision makers to better understand the needs of their community, improve services and design innovative approaches to delivering care.