Intended for healthcare professionals


Major public works ahead for a healthy data-centric NHS

BMJ 2022; 377 doi: (Published 22 April 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:o1018
  1. Pascale Lehoux, full professor1,
  2. Lysanne Rivard, senior research adviser2
  1. 1Department of Health Management, Evaluation and Policy, University of Montreal, QC, Canada
  2. 2Public Health Research Center (CReSP), University of Montreal, QC, Canada
  1. pascale.lehoux{at}

The Goldacre report successfully takes up a timely challenge

Tasked by the UK government with daring terms of reference, the Goldacre report, published on 7 April 2022, draws, in breadth and depth, the UK’s roadmap towards “better, broader, and safer” use of health data for research and analysis. Because raw data are not powerful on their own, they must be skilfully curated, securely managed, properly analysed, openly communicated, and responsibly acted on.1 To this end, the authors carefully examine the technical, ethical, and organisational issues associated with health data and recommend that we consolidate “trusted research environments,” professionalise the data analytics workforce, operationalise ethical principles, and avoid common misconceptions about “open” data analytics.

As aptly put by Sajid Javid, UK secretary of state for health and social care, health data are “unlike other data” and a need exists to “be as thoughtful” as “innovative.”1 In the United States, when Google and the University of Chicago Medical Center were sued for …

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