Four pathfinder projects addressing some of London’s key health problems have been granted £1million to show how using data at scale can improve health outcomes. 

The projects will work side by side with the NHS, the research community and citizens in London over the next year with the aim to make developments in health and care, and upgrade systems and tools that enable data to be safely and securely linked.

Selected following a London-wide application and interview process, the four projects are:

  • Cancer pathways (development of a linked dataset to provide a clearer, joined-up picture of patient
    care along cancer pathways)
  • Asthma (development of a decision support tool enabling accurate diagnosis, improved prescribing,
    and targeted interventions to improve asthma care)
  • Hypertension (shared data approach to better identify groups at high risk of hypertension)
  • Pre-school immunisations (development of shared digital tools, mapping, and dashboards to
    support frontline GP teams improve vaccine uptake and reduce delays and inequalities)

The pathfinder projects are part of a wider London-wide programme which is working to implement the London Health Data Strategy. The strategy’s goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of Londoners and solve health and care challenges using the power of data at scale.

Director of Health Data Research UK, Professor Andrew Morris, who led the development of the strategy, said: “The London Health Data Strategy has been developed in line with public recommendations for how health and care data should be joined up and used to support service planning, improvement, and research.

“We have a responsibility to Londoners to ensure their expectations are met. As such, it is fantastic to see implementation of the strategy starting to come to fruition through this partnership programme and the launch of the pathfinder projects.”

The strategy was commissioned by NHS England (London Region) and London’s leading research universities. The public is involved in every aspect of the programme’s implementation, with Citizen Representatives appointed to the Stakeholder Board and plans for further engagement with Londoners to shape policy and governance.

Deborah Millington, citizen representative on the London Health Data Strategy Programme Board, said: “Having participated in the Citizens’ Summit and helped to form the recommendations and conditions for the use of health and care data in London, it is great to see public expectations being delivered through the London Health Data Strategy Programme.

“I am committed to helping ensure that the public and patients are involved in every aspect of this important initiative, and in my role as Citizen Representative I will continue to have input and oversight.”

The strategy follows a region-wide discussion at the OneLondon Citizen Summit in 2020, where residents of the capital gave national and local health leaders a mandate for how they expect their data to be used.

Professor Ian Abbs, chief executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and co-chair of the London Health Data Strategy Programme, added: “Londoners have told us that they expect all health and care organisations in London to join-up information consistently to support and improve service planning, and to enhance our research and development capabilities.

“This important programme will underpin and enable the consistent use of health and care data for these purposes, building trust and confidence around data use that, importantly, meets public expectation.”