DataLoch heralds new data-driven era in healthcare innovation

A new data repository has been created to bring together health and social care data for the first time, driving forward data-driven approaches to improving care.

DataLoch will enable researchers to engage with private, public and third sector health and social care organisations, using data from across the Edinburgh & South East Scotland region to power research and innovation.

The project takes its name from the industry standard ‘data-lake’, a system or repository of data stored in its natural form.

DataLoch has been funded as part of the University of Edinburgh’s Data-Driven Innovation initiative – part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

The UK is facing an increasing number of health and social care challenges, experts say, including an aging population and increasing numbers of people living with long term conditions.

DataLoch aims to create an efficient and safe approach to storing, linking and accessing health and social care data to help researchers tackle these challenges.

The Edinburgh International Data Facility at the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) will provide a secure and robustly managed facility for the information.

DataLoch has been created jointly by NHS Lothian, Borders and Fife and the University of Edinburgh.

The project was in the first phase of development when the Covid-19 pandemic began. Researchers have since diverted their efforts to focus on Covid-19 data and supporting NHS service managers and clinicians with immediate hospital-based improvements.

Tracey Gillies, Medical Director, NHS Lothian said: “DataLoch has already shown its value with the Covid-19 specific data set which has enabled us to explore and address new challenges facing the NHS as a result of the pandemic. We are a learning organisation focused on quality of care and we believe DataLoch will help drive data-enabled innovation within NHS Lothian to continue to improve the efficiency and quality of care we deliver.”

Professor Nick Mills, Chair of Cardiology, University of Edinburgh said: “DataLoch is a unique platform that aligns with the needs of our research community and our health and social care providers. It will promote a data-driven approach to healthcare improvements and enable us to develop a world-leading learning health system in our region.”

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