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NHS Digital partners with University of Oxford, Microsoft and IBM for new hub for clinical trials

NHS Digital has partnered with the University of Oxford, Microsoft and IBM to develop a new hub that aims to revolutionise the way in which clinical trials are delivered.

NHS DigiTrial, the NHS Health Data Research Hub for Clinical Trials, is one of seven hubs announced this week to enable cutting-edge research for health discoveries.

Led by Health Data Research UK, they aim to improve the lives of people with debilitating conditions by making health data more accessible and user-friendly for research while maintaining strict controls around data security and privacy.

NHS DigiTrial will work with other hub teams, including Discover-NOW, a partnership led by Imperial College Health Partners. Discover-NOW has also submitted a successful bid for the Health Data Research Hub for Real World Evidence, which will speed up research for new medicines, treatments and support quicker diagnoses and care provision.

Sarah Wilkinson, CEO of NHS Digital “Our new ‘NHS DigiTrial’ Hub will enable us to strengthen our support for academic research communities and Life Sciences partners in the extraordinary and vital work they do to develop new treatments. We are very excited about partnering with the Nuffield Department of Population Health in this work, and delighted to have support, and deep technical expertise from Microsoft and IBM.”

“As the primary national data custodian for the Health and Care system, NHS Digital’s first and central consideration in all such work is operating within appropriate privacy, security and information governance frameworks, and these will guide the design and delivery of this new service.”

Professor Martin Landray, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health, at the University of Oxford “Clinical trials are essential to understand the safety and efficacy of treatments. By working closely with patients and the NHS, this new Hub seeks to increase opportunities for participation in clinical trials and enhance the quality of the information that they produce. This new digitally-enabled approach will reduce the cost of developing new treatments and improve the quality of information available to patients and their doctors.”

“With a clear focus on data security, safety and public involvement, this is an important and exciting next step in the UK’s health data proposition and builds on the fantastic strengths we have across our health service, universities and industry.”

Cindy Rose, CEO of Microsoft UK “Clinical trials are fundamental in developing safe medical treatments but many are hampered by the lack of access to relevant patient information. NHS DigiTrial will transform this process, ensuring healthcare professionals are able to accelerate clinical trials and bring much-needed treatments to market, faster.”

“Yet speed alone is not enough. Patients must trust their data is being held securely and only accessed appropriately. The use of Microsoft Azure will ensure all information utilised by NHS DigiTrial is integrated, managed securely and with all appropriate access controls. We are delighted to be involved in what is a great example of a public-private partnership to deliver better patient outcomes.”