26 Jan 2024
Public campaign launched to raise awareness of how patient information is being used to support world-leading research in Greater Manchester
Health Innovation Manchester, on behalf of the NHS Greater Manchester, has launched a public campaign to raise awareness of how patient information from GM’s 2.8m citizens is being used to support the care of patients across health and care services as well as being used to deliver world-leading research in the city-region.
Developed in response to the pandemic, the GM Care Record brings together health and care information from across the NHS and social care services in the city-region. This single record provides frontline staff with the full picture of a patient, informing important decisions about care and treatment wherever and whenever a patient may need it.
The GM Care Records includes key information like care plans, allergies, medications, health conditions, and test results. Over 20,000 frontline staff access the GM Care Record to support the care of almost 250,000 patients in Greater Manchester each month.
De-identified patient information in the GM Care Record is also being used to support world-class research in Greater Manchester to understand why our citizens face a shorter life expectancy and experience poorer health at a younger age, compared to the rest of the UK.
To keep data safe for research, as part of a collaboration across the North-West, NHS Greater Manchester has created the GM Secure Data Environment for population health research. This secure space allows approved researchers access to de-identified patient information, surrounded by virtual walls to ensure only authorised information is used and that no data can leave the virtual environment. This data will help researchers understand health trends at a group or population level but cannot be used to identify individuals, with all personal information removed.
Working with the University of Manchester, the first studies have been identified to use the Secure Data Environment and de-identified patient information from across Greater Manchester. These studies include:
- Optimisation of lung cancer screening in disadvantaged communities of Greater Manchester
- Understanding and addressing the socioeconomic inequality in the care for people living with dementia
- Exploring prostate and breast cancers in Greater Manchester and the role of ethnic and socioeconomic disparities
Dr. Gareth Thomas, Digital Innovation Director at Health Innovation Manchester and NHS Greater Manchester said “The GM Care Record and the Secure Data Environment are enhancing the way we deliver care by enabling us to develop our understanding of our population and their health needs. We can then target resources and services, and tackle some of the major health challenges we face across the city region.
We understand the importance of keeping this valuable information secure, and the importance of maintaining public trust. Collectively, our de-identified information can be used to support research to improve the health of people and communities we live in. Our individual health information can help us to understand the health of all of Greater Manchester.”
The public awareness campaign is appearing across the Greater Manchester transport network as well as online through social media. The campaign also coincides with focus groups and drop-in sessions across the area to understand how citizens view the use of patient information for their own direct care, but also for research.