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Electronic health research centre awarded to Manchester

02 Aug 2012

A new multimillion-pound centre of excellence in electronic health data research to improve patient care and public health across a wide range of conditions has been awarded to a consortium led by The University of Manchester.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) announced today (Thursday) that the Health eResearch Centre (HeRC) will be set up in Manchester in partnership with the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and York.

HeRC will research new ways of harnessing electronic health data to improve care for patients and communities. The consortium brings together partners from academia, the NHS, local authorities and industry in a five to 10-year programme.

The Centre, led by Professor Iain Buchan, will produce new computer-based methods and tools, and apply them to five areas of innovation:

  • Helping patients to monitor their own health in daily life using mobile technologies such as smartphones, alongside records shared with GPs;
  • Helping the NHS to examine complex flows of patients in order to spot missed opportunities for earlier or better targeted care;
  • Giving researchers more powerful tools for identifying sub-groups of people who have different patterns of health that might illuminate new targets for treatment or prevention;
  • Enabling different research teams to collaborate across different organisations to produce more powerful and timely analyses of anonymised healthcare records;
  • Making clinical trials more efficient and more relevant to patients.

In addition to generating world-leading methodology, HeRC will train a new cadre of professionals in the underpinning discipline of Health Informatics.

The MRC, along with nine other government and charity funders, are investing £4.5 million in HeRC over the next five years, and the total activity with investments from industry and academia will be around £18 million.

Three other e-health research Centres will be established in London, Dundee and Swansea. The four Centres will investigate a wide range of conditions that place a huge burden on the UK population, including diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and child and maternal health.

Maximising the unique value of the NHS, the Centres will undertake cutting edge research that links e-health records with other forms of research and routinely collected data, which will lead to patient and public benefit and ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of global medical research.

By combining clinical, social and research data, researchers aim to identify more effective treatments, improve drug safety, assess risks to public health and study the causes of diseases and disability.

The four Centres will make use of patient data sets available through the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, a £60 million service recently announced by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the National Institute for Health Research. The public and charitable funding for these Centres builds on this important commitment from the Government and on similar bodies that link patient records in Scotland and Wales.

Ends

Notes for editors

For further information contact:

Aeron Haworth
Media Relations
Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8383
Mob: 07717 881563
Email: aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk