Making NHS data work for everyone

This report looks at the access and use of data held by the NHS for product and service development purposes by the private sector. Benefits can emerge from the NHS partnering with the private sector to develop healthcare technologies. The private sector can provide skills and know-how to develop data-driven tools whilst the NHS makes the data available alongside medical expertise – described as the “value exchange”. There’s a lack of clarity over what a fair value exchange looks like. This combined with the lack of national strategy on types of partnerships that could be developed has led to a messy patchwork on the ground.


  • Engaging with the public about how data about them is used within the NHS is crucial. However, no public-sector models exist that allow patients to participate in the conversation about what a fair value exchange might be. The report recommends that this should change.
  • The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) needs to create a national strategy, which provides a framework for the array of possible models that will not have an adverse effect at the national level. We present the first table of commercial models that could be explored.
  • The paper suggests that transparency over data quality could be increased. It also suggests a way in which access to data could be sped up without compromising individuals’ privacy.
  • The report recommends that the DHSC should invest in creating a new independent unit to help NHS organisations negotiate fair and proportionate partnerships.
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