Health Data Research UK Midlands, in partnership with Health Innovation East Midlands and sponsored by Midlands Innovation Health, recently hosted an insightful webinar titled “Making a difference: Using Data to Improve Care” which was held on Thursday 29th February 2024, via Zoom.

This event served as a beacon of collaboration and innovation, attracting a brilliant 163 participants from across the globe.

The webinar was a vibrant celebration of the tireless efforts of analysts within the NHS who strive relentlessly to enhance patient care. Fiona Pearce, from the University of Nottingham and Associate Director of HDR UK Midlands who co-chaired the event, expressed her delight in orchestrating a learning event that brought together participants from diverse corners of the world.

Fiona comments “Learning is paramount for our regional health and data science communities. It not only fuels innovation, but also fosters collaboration and empowers individuals to make meaningful contributions to healthcare. By investing in continuous learning, we pave the way for transformative advancements that can positively impact patient care and outcomes.

 A spotlight on rare disease

One of the key focal points of the webinar was harnessing the power of data to combat rare diseases, which was particularly fitting as it coincided with International Rare Disease Day 2024.

Rare diseases, though individually uncommon, collectively affect 1 in 17 people in their lifetime. Data plays a pivotal role in researching and developing new treatments for patients diagnosed with these conditions.

Around 3.5 million people in the UK are currently living with a rare disease. These diseases can be difficult to diagnose because healthcare professionals may not encounter them frequently.

Treating patients with rare diseases can be challenging because there may be limited information available about the condition and its treatment. Additionally, since fewer people are affected, there may be fewer resources dedicated to researching and developing treatments.

Patients with rare diseases often face a lot of uncertainty and may need to see multiple doctors or specialists before receiving an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. This can result in delays in diagnosis, limited treatment options, and difficulties in accessing specialised care. Rare diseases, though individually uncommon, collectively affect a significant portion of the population. Data plays a pivotal role in researching and developing new treatments for patients diagnosed with these conditions.

Despite these challenges, ongoing research and advancements in medical technology offer hope for improved outcomes for patients with rare diseases in the future.

 Celebrating the work of our Midlands regional analysts

Glen Howard from Health Innovation East Midlands highlighted the significance of analysts showcasing their data projects to improve patient care, not just locally but on a global scale.

Glen says “NHS data, when utilised by clinicians working alongside analysts, serves as a cornerstone in our mission to enhance health services and, ultimately improve overall patient care. This collaborative effort harnesses the power of data to drive informed decision-making and leads to tangible improvements in healthcare delivery and outcomes for patients.

The event also provided a remarkable platform for early career researchers to present their vital health research projects. Early career researchers are the torchbearers of future advancements in healthcare, making their contributions invaluable.

Training and collaboration in health analytics is crucial for leveraging the potential of data effectively. The webinar emphasised the importance of learning networks across the Midlands region, promoting collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Positioning the Midlands at the forefront

Alex Archibald from Midlands Innovation Health highlighted the significance of the event for the Midlands region, expressing pride in sponsoring and helping to organise such an important gathering.

Alex noted that “The Midlands region is a pivotal hub within the UK life sciences sector, contributing significantly to advancements in healthcare innovation and research. Celebrating its importance not only highlights our region’s rich legacy but also underscores its potential to shape the future of healthcare on a national and global scale”

The Health Data Research UK Midlands Insight Sharing Webinar which was delivered in partnership with Health Innovation East Midlands was a testament to the transformative power of data in healthcare.

It showcased the dedication of healthcare professionals, researchers, and analysts in leveraging data to enhance patient outcomes and improve health services worldwide.

The recordings of the presentations are available via the HDR UK Midlands regional community platform: https://www.hdrmidlands.org.uk/

Selected Projects:

Organically grow the holistic world view of disruptive innovation via workplace diversity and empowerment of everyone.