HeRC facilitated public consultation helps define new policy re: technology and healthcare

Posted on October 31, 2014

On the 28th October, the Health eResearch Centre brokered a meeting between patients, members of the public, health professionals, academics and policy makers.  The aim of the meeting was  to review a new government strategy on the opportunities that data and technology can bring to the UK’s health services.

The National Information Board (NIB), a new public body that unites people and agencies from the NHS, public health and government to consider how data and technology can be used to improve healthcare, approached HeRC  to help them engage with a public panel on this important issue.

Organised by PPI Researcher Dr Lamiece Hassan, participants were asked to read and comment on a draft strategy document that had been produced by a number of leading clinicians and health academics.

The document, which will eventually become NIB strategy and implemented as a standard procedure across the NHS, provided a rough framework for how the current system should be re-framed to incorporate data driven innovations and to better engage the public as partners in healthcare.  Representatives from the NIB were particularly keen to understand how they might empower the public to take more control of their individual health and well-being.

The document outlined where current provision was lacking and made suggestions as to how healthcare systems could be realigned to improve the flow of data and provide new insights into public health.  The strategy also included information on the increasing importance of tools such as telehealth and mHealth and the significance of effectively engaging citizens as partners in their healthcare provision, with greater involvement in the monitoring and management of their care.

On the morning of the consultation, which was hosted at Vaughan House in Manchester, the public panel were asked to share their thoughts about the document and voice any concerns they had about the methods outlined and the assumptions that were made.  In the afternoon, the group were joined by a variety of industry professionals who provided their own context and ideas for how best to engage the public and together the group debated the key issues.

All of the days input was captured by a representative from the National Information Board and the feedback will now be used to help redraft the strategy document in-line with this feedback.  Once approved, the document will be made available for the general public to view and should be available in early 2015.

Dr Lamiece Hassan said:  “This was a great opportunity for the members of the public to help steer the direction of future health services.

The fact that the NIB approached HeRC to help provide a public perspective on the new strategy shows recognition of our expertise in this area.

The feedback from the public panel was really positive and it will be interesting to see how the document takes shape as a result of their contributions over the next few months.  This kind of public consultation is really important and exactly the kind of work we should be doing at the Health eResearch Centre.”


Notes to editors

  1. The Health eResearch Centre (HeRC) is a publically funded organisation hosted by a consortium of Universities across the North of England to perform health informatics research. Led by The University of Manchester, HeRC harnesses large scale health data for patient and public benefit by advancing computational thinking in health science, and developing e-health innovations embedded in healthcare services.


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