NHS will use Covid experience to develop secure use of patient data

Written by PublicTechnology Staff on 8 September 2022 in News
News

Policy paper details requirements for secure data environments offering research access to health and social care records

Credit: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

The NHS in England will build on a pilot-stage service used to access health and social care data on Covid-19 to develop secure data environments for research and planning.
NHS Digital’s Trusted Research Environment already supports more than 100 users, including the British Heart Foundation researching the pandemic’s impact on and cardiovascular diseases and an innovation hub founded by Health Data Research UK looking at the impact of Covid-19 on those with cancer.

This work will be expanded with the aim that all nationally-held data used for research and planning will be managed through a secure data environment, according to a policy paper published by the Department of Health and Social Care. Such environments, which give authorised users the ability to analyse data without full access to the data, are seen as a way to allow effective research while protecting privacy. NHS England has also set up regional secure data environments in London, Wessex (covering Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, southern Wiltshire and Dorset), Greater Manchester and the Thames Valley. 

The paper includes guidelines for the use of secure data environments, including that they will become the default way to access health and social care data for research and analysis with exceptions requiring significant justifications such as explicit consent from participants. The environments must also meet defined criteria, maintain high levels of cyber security and be accessible only by appropriate and verified users.

It also says that all use must be “ethical, for the public good, and comply with all existing law” and intended for health or health promotion with marketing or insurance purposes ruled out. The department plans to publish technical guidance for secure data environments by the end of 2022.

 

Tags

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

NHS Digital boss hails ‘opportunity to put digital at the heart of the NHS’ as merger concludes
2 February 2023

Parliament signs off abolishment of technology unit and transfer of duties and data sets to overarching national body

Legislation finalising merger of NHS Digital aims to ‘ensure good practice continues’
23 January 2023

Duties are due to be formally transferred to NHS England in a week’s time

NHS health-inequalities body flags up potential of apps and digital services
10 January 2023

Technology could help address ethnic inequality – but better collection of data is needed, report finds

Seven million people signed up for NHS app last year
3 January 2023

Number of prescriptions ordered via app doubles as new features are rolled out