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DataLoch reaches a milestone in data development

Addressing public health and social care challenges is of increasing importance in society today. The role of data in understanding population-wide health and wellbeing, and therefore opening the door to service improvements and new innovation that will enhance care, is core to the mission of the Data-Driven Innovation Health and Social Care programme.

After two years of development, DataLoch – a secure  and pioneering data service designed in partnership by the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian – has fully launched.

This important milestone represents the first time where researchers from any organisation (and from beyond the South-East Scotland region) can apply for access to extracts of the health and social care data within the DataLoch repository.

Central to the launch is the secure data environment that enables safe and secure access for approved researchers. Currently, the DataLoch repository hosts data from primary and secondary care alongside datasets covering death records and social deprivation.

Through DataLoch’s close collaboration with Edinburgh Cancer informatics, researchers can also link detailed cancer-specific phenotype, treatment and outcomes data to other routine health datasets. Further datasets are to be included within the repository in the near future.

Additionally, HDR UK Phenotypes have been incorporated to ease the burden on researchers by streamlining the identification of conditions. Public perspectives have also been integrated into DataLoch’s processes through public value assessments for each project, as well as a recent public consultation to identify key recommendations for DataLoch’s governance framework.

This is an example of two of the key developments, for more details about the opportunities for researchers summarised by the DataLoch team view here.

Improvements of the DataLoch service will continue. The team are currently prioritising the development of a new registry to enhance opportunities for research related to cardiology. Discussions continue with Data Controllers to securely bring in further health and social care data within the DataLoch repository for use in research and for service management.

Also, due to launch later this year, a new innovation community on Edinburgh BioQuarter, driven by the University of Edinburgh Usher Institute, will bring together partners from the public-, private- and third-sectors to develop new data-enabled solutions to address challenges such as frailty, with the support of the DataLoch team.