Moorfields Eye Hospital has been announced as one of seven new health data research hubs that aim to give patients across the UK faster access to pioneering new treatments. Led by Health Data Research UK, these hubs bring together different types of health data, making it more easily accessible for research, while maintaining strict controls around data privacy and consent.
Funded as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), a £37million investment from the UK Government, the hubs aim to stimulate further economic growth through greater research activity. Moorfields and the other hubs will bring their collective expertise together to maximise the value of health data research, potentially benefiting millions of people across the country by encouraging the development of more effective treatments and more efficient management of the health service.
Patients will be involved in decisions about how their data is used to ensure the benefits are returned to the NHS and the wider UK community, and existing rules for accessing data safely and securely will continue to apply.
Moorfields was selected as a hub following a competition by an independent panel of patient and public representatives. Centres were assessed against criteria that included the potential for impact, the innovative uses of data, plans for involving patients and the public, and the value for public funding.
The eye health hub at Moorfields will use data and advanced analytics, including artificial intelligence, to develop new insights in eye disease and how this applies to wider health such as dementia and diabetes. The other hubs include centres for cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and clinical trials.
Pearse Keane, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said:
“At Moorfields we have world-leading experience in the development of artificial intelligence for healthcare, both from a technical perspective but also - most importantly - from a patient and public perspective. By creating the INSIGHT Hub for Eye Health, we will share this experience on a national level, allowing the NHS and the UK to lead the development of new treatments for the commonest causes of blindness”.
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