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Exploring the use of patient data in new technologies

Should smartphone data about your shopping habits be linked to data about your health? Should patients get x-rays reported by an AI programme rather than a doctor? How should the NHS determine which new technologies might benefit the health of patients and the public?

Questions like these surround new technologies where patient data is used to try and improve health. As technology becomes more sophisticated, and medical data becomes more personalised, these social, ethical and legal questions are becoming more and more pressing.

The Academy of Medical Sciences is delighted to announce a new programme of public dialogue, to explore opinions on the use of emerging ‘data-driven’ medical technologies. By facilitating discussions about the issues surrounding health data – without which these technologies cannot operate – we aim to ensure that the use and regulation of these technologies in healthcare develops in line with public views.

Working with Ipsos MORI, and after consulting a wide range of stakeholders, the Academy has commissioned three sets of public dialogue workshops in Cardiff, London and Sheffield, attended by members of the public, patients, data researchers and healthcare professionals. Through these workshops, the Academy will seek answers to fundamental questions surrounding the generation and use of health data.  

Through all our public dialogue work, we aim to include participants whose voices are typically underrepresented, and an important aspect of these workshops will be to consider healthcare inequalities relating to data use, and what might be done to promote or challenge these effects.

This project is being undertaken with input from Understanding Patient Data, an independent organisation aiming to support better conversations around the uses of health information.

The project’s steeing group is led by Professor Carol Dezateux CBE FMedSci, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Health Data Science, Queen Mary, University London  – for a full list of steering group members, please visit our policy project page.

Following the programme of public dialogue workshops, the Academy’s policy team will take forward the findings to shape a set of principles which can be applied to the use of new technologies used in healthcare. More information about this strand of work will be available in early 2018.

For more information about this project, please contact Holly Rogers, Communications and Engagement Manager, or for updates and developments visit our dedicated ‘patient data in new technologies’ policy project page.

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