Future data-driven technologies and the implications for use of patient data

Public dialogue on behalf of the Academy of Medical Sciences sought the views of the public, patients, and healthcare professionals on the future use of data-driven technologies in healthcare and the implications for use of patient data.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Castell Head of Futures, Ipsos, UK
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The Academy of Medical Sciences convened a steering group to develop a report which would set out principles for the use of future data-driven technologies in healthcare, and to provide guidance on how patient data should, or should not, be used to support new data-driven technologies.

In 2017, Ipsos MORI was commissioned by the Academy of Medical Sciences to undertake a dialogue project, to enable these principles to be informed by members of the public, patients and healthcare professionals.

The dialogues were conducted to draw out views on how new future data-driven technologies in healthcare should interact responsibly and usefully with patients, and the data collected about them, in the course of health care. The project found;

  • There is optimism about new technology in healthcare.  Participants felt new technologies in general could increase efficiency, improve success rates of diagnoses, and save administrative and diagnostic time meaning clinicians could spend more time on patient care. 
  • Universal support for data-driven technologies which are based on scans and imaging automation for diagnosis.
  • New technologies which perform continuous observation were seen as acceptable in hospital, but are more contested in everyday life; especially when they contain live images or video. 
  • Desire to preserve the valued clinician-patient relationship. Technologies should support clinical judgement and not overrule it. Participants overwhelmingly wanted humans to deliver results, to maintain the clinician-patient relationship. 

Professor Carol Dezateux FMedSci, who chaired the steering group for the dialogue, said:

Health technologies that use patient data have huge potential to improve our health and wellbeing. We are already seeing the development of wearable monitors linked to automated treatment that are revolutionising the lives of patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes. Our workshops with the public emphasised that they want to see the NHS deliver on the potential of data-driven technologies, giving better and safer health care for all.

Technical note

The main study consisted of three face-to-face dialogue workshops in London (11 public, 7 patients), Sheffield (12 public, 10 patients) and Cardiff (7 public, 6 patients) in February 2018. Some public and patient participants returned on a week night for a reconvened evening session, who were then joined by GPs and other healthcare professionals.

Participants were recruited by quota to reflect the spread of ages, gender, ethnicity, life stages and sociodemographic segments of London, Sheffield and Cardiff respectively. Patients were recruited with a range of different conditions including both mental health and physical conditions.

HCPs were mostly recruited using Ipsos MORI’s panel of GPs and consultants, via an online screener, ensuring a mix of gender and number of years of professional experience.

The author(s)

  • Sarah Castell Head of Futures, Ipsos, UK

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