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New projects to tackle London’s health challenges using the power of data at scale

Three new projects that will use data at scale to deliver improved health outcomes for Londoners with hard to diagnose cancers, diabetes mellitus and asthma have been approved by the OneLondon Health Data Board (14 March 2024).

They will use the new OneLondon Secure Data Environment (SDE) currently being developed that will bring pan-London health and care data together to support improved direct care, planning and research in the Capital.

These projects will build on lessons learned by our Pathfinder Projects to help inform how we develop the OneLondon SDE to deliver improved direct care for the benefit of patients across London.

The Data at Scale for Improvement Projects are:

  • Hard to diagnose cancer: A project led by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research London, to better understand how to support earlier and quicker diagnosis of patients with non-specific but concerning symptoms.
  • Diabetes Mellitus Complication Risk: a project led by St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and St George’s University of London, to better predict the risk of individual Londoners with diabetes mellitus developing complications in order to support preventative measures and better medical management.
  • London Asthma Decision Support (LADS) Tool : a project led by North West London ICB to improve how the LADS tool identifies high-risk asthma patients and support more appropriate local intervention to improve health outcomes.

James Friend, Director of Digital Strategy NHS London Region, said:

“It is great that we are supporting three new important projects that will use data at scale to drive forward real improvements in health and care in the Capital. Our trailblazing Pathfinder Projects were a huge success and made a real difference to improved care as well as helping us learn lessons about joining up and using data in the Capital. I am excited to see how these new Data at Scale for Improvement Projects build on this work over the months ahead.”

Dr Richard Lee, Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Group Leader for the Early Diagnosis and Detection team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“We’re very grateful for this funding and look forward to working with the OneLondon Secure Data Environment Team and other experts to make sure patients get a cancer diagnosis as quickly as possible. Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs) are important hubs for identifying hard to diagnose cancers, such as lung and blood, which can present with common and non-specific symptoms like tiredness or unexplained weight loss.

“This project, which is also supported by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), is a unique opportunity to collect and analyse vital data from RDC centres in London, where patients from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds are treated, to reduce health inequalities and speed up diagnosis of the disease.”

Dr Iain Roy, Consultant Vascular Surgeon & Hon Senior Lecturer at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We’re excited about this project, which could ultimately help diabetic Londoners to avoid health complications. By using healthcare records to develop a tool that can predict their future risk of a serious complication, patients and their healthcare professionals will be able to take steps to reduce the likelihood of that happening.”

Dr Sarah Elkin, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College Healthcare Trust and Co-Clinical Director of the London Respiratory Clinical Network at NHS England (London), said:

“We are delighted to be working with the OneLondon Secure Data Environment Team on this important project. The London Asthma Decision Support tool is already making a difference supporting asthma patients across the Capital. Through this new and exciting work we can take further steps to better identify high risk patients so clinicians can provide more effective and tailored interventions in their local communities for the benefit of their patients.”

The new Data at Scale for Improvement Projects were selected following a London-wide application process. These successful projects were recommended by clinicians and citizens of the Independent Information Access Group, following ICB governance and deliverability review by the OneLondon SDE Team.

The projects will now receive grant funding to support the delivery of their work which began this month and will continue to March 2025. The aim is that the insights that emerge from the projects will support clinical teams to deliver improved care for years to come.

This opportunity follows major public engagement events held with Londoners who were supportive of using joined up data to support individual care, proactive care, planning and research.

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