Skip to main content

Health data for societal benefit

Our work at LIDA, our cross-faculty institute, brings together over 150 researchers and data scientists with the remit of driving change through data. Data has always been at the heart of innovation, and right now there is great excitement and drive to use data across all domains of society for the benefit of populations. At LIDA we understand this and we want to be part of it. We bring academic, teaching and research and experts together in an open plan infrastructure that allows staff and students with a common purpose to work together and use data and contemporary analytical techniques for the benefit of society.

Alongside urban analytics and AI, one of the main themes we work in is health. In 2020, and the midst of a global pandemic the subject of health is of course an even higher priority than usual. Our work this year has focussed on two very important areas of health care that will affect most people; cancer and cardiovascular care. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. One in two people will get cancer during their lifetime. Working with commercially and publicly sensitive data, our teams have demonstrated how large scale data may help clinical outcomes in these two key areas. The University of Leeds is a founding partner of DATA-CAN, the Health Care Research Hub (HDR UK) for Cancer and our work in this area looked at how cancer care changed during the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on future cancer care in the UK. The heart attack work has shown how using rapidly assimilated national cardiovascular in an emergency setting may be used to inform Government and NHS policy, improve patient care and ultimately save lives.

Our work this year, and going forwards shows that health data and its timely and robust analysis are absolutely critical in the UK so that we can respond to such issues. The COVID-19 response has demonstrated the absolute necessity for appropriate, secure access to data across all aspects of the disease, from informing public policy to understanding the impacts on health and society, mapping the spread of the virus and testing new treatments, as well as revealing the knock-on effects of the pandemic on care for other conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

Our work in LIDA will build upon these strengths in health data as well as the excellent track record that we have in the use of consumer and geographic data. We have ambitions and plans in pace to accelerate the use of AI for applied health research – working closely with senior experts in this area as well as training the health data scientists of tomorrow.

Professor Chris Gale, LIDA Co-Director

Back to annual review