BU’s Dr Vegard Engen spoke about the role of data and artificial intelligence in healthcare innovation as part of an All-Party Parliamentary Health Group (APHG) event.
Dr Engen, Deputy Head of Department for Computing and Informatics at BU, has worked on a range of health-related applications, including social influence modelling and risk prediction to inform policy, predictions of medical conditions, and educational gaming to encourage prosocial behaviour in children.
He spoke as part of the Health, Data and Public Trust event - an online roundtable event exploring the opportunities and challenges associated with data in health that was organised by the APHG and All-Party Parliamentary Group for Data Analytics (APGDA).
A digitised NHS could support world class research, expand the use of anonymised patient records for preventative and early diagnostic research, and improve patient pathways through integration and increasingly personalised care.
However, public perception of the storage and use of health data has reached an all-time low and data collection and sharing across the health service is currently disjointed and often relying on outdated infrastructure.
Dr Engen spoke about the role that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning could play in helping to analyse large amounts of health data and supporting patient care, such as detecting breast cancer in mammogram screening programs.
He also shared examples of European research projects which have successfully accessed and used health data from across a number of countries.
The event was chaired by Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE, Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Data Analytics (APGDA), and other speakers included Dr Ben Goldacre (Director of Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science), Craig Anderson (Head of External Reporting Services at the NHS Business Services Authority), Wayne Miller (Director EMEA Healthcare Practice, Zebra technologies) and Professor Emla Fitzsimons (UCL Social Research Institute).
During short presentations and a question and answer session, the speakers touched upon the need for transparency and communication with patients around how data will be used and shared, as well as the potential benefits.
They also articulated the need for collaboration and knowledge-sharing and for investment in infrastructure to ensure data is robust, reliable and can be used for different purposes.