NHS England’s chief data and analytics officer Ming Tang has said that the NHS needs to bring the public along with it when it comes to NHS data, an audience at HETT 2023 heard.

Speaking in the opening session on Day 2 in the Infrastructure and Data Architecture Theatre, Tang emphasised that “it’s an exciting time because of the infrastructure we’re (NHS England) investing in”.

She confirmed that NHSE are working hard on national secure data environments (SDEs) and on some clinical use for the Federated Data Platform (FDP).

Tang, a confirmed headline speaker for Digital Health AI and Data, said that diversity of views is important and stressed that “we need to bring the public with us” on all things data in order for them to have trust in those handling their data and that it will be safely stored in the FDP and SDEs.

She was also quick to point out that both SDEs and the FDP are secure environments, the SDEs are simply a more general term. Tang then reiterated what Vin Diwakar had said yesterday that NHSE are “committed to working with open standards” with regards to the FDP and are using the Technology Code of Practice.

Tang was joined in the session by Claire Bloomfield, director at the Centre for Improving Data Collaboration at NHS England, and Nicola Hamilton, head of Understanding Patient Data. It was chaired by Amanda Begley, executive director of digital transformation at Health Innovation Network.

Bloomfield confirmed that the FDP will be used to source and feed data into some of the SDEs. She said health data pipelines will be announced in next week’s health data user group, which has a growing waiting list to attend.

Hamilton spoke about the patient perspective and the fact that there is “still a lot of hesitancy about the role of big tech” in personal health data. There are lots of benefits, but people are worried about the risks, she explained. “Transparency is key to helping public trust”, she concluded.