The UK’s leading academics and health data specialists are being brought together under a new alliance that aims to develop new ways to design and support the medical research of the future, to ultimately improve the care patients receive from the NHS.

The Health Data Research Alliance will focus on the best ways to design, use, collect, manage and analyse health data in a responsible way for clinical trials, medical research, and innovation.

Health Data Research UK and NHS Digital are the first partners to join the Alliance, with other organisations expected to follow.

The aim is to make health data more accessible and improve data quality in order to build a more innovative and efficient health and care system, as currently only a fraction of NHS and research data is easily accessible to researchers.

Part of the work will see NHS Digital and Health Data Research UK agree an approach to using data to better inform clinical trials and to design systems that allow data from across the English healthcare system to be accessible in real time.

Lord O’Shaughnessy, parliamentary under secretary of State for Health, stated: “Using health data for research has the potential to deliver solutions to the greatest healthcare challenges we face.”

He continued, “This new alliance brings together the unique data assets across the NHS, and allows access to them by the research community in a safe, secure and ethical framework. From this will flow new treatments and insights which will transform outcomes for patients”.