NHS sets out vision for IT-enabled, research-facilitating future

As part of its wide-reaching strategy, NHS England will create “test bed” sites at which bioinformatics approaches and other tools will be tested.

NHS England plans to locate the sites alongside the existing Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), a collection of autonomous bodies tasked with identifying and adopting new technologies. British and foreign organizations will be able to bid to have their technology trialed at the test sites. The AHSNs will also have a role in establishing “Technology for Care” innovation centers, some of which will be based on the Catapult sites established by the government to turn ideas into products.

Other research-related aspects of the digital strategy include a call for the AHSNs to work with companies and other parts of the government to establish data services in support of drug discovery. The AHSNs will be involved in similar collaborations to increase the use of real-world data in drug R&D. Plans to use patient data for such research has been met with opposition, something the Department of Health hopes to overcome by talking to the public, industry and other groups.

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