Pioneering North West London research data to enable cutting-edge research and innovation to benefit UK patients led by ICHP

  • NW London population to be the focus of a national data hub part of seven being set up across the UK to speed up research for new medicines and treatments, support quicker diagnoses and potentially save lives.
  • Patients and the public will be involved in making decisions about how data is used through one of the most progressive citizen’s engagement programmes ever developed in the UK

Discover-NOW, a unique partnership led by Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP), will be the Health Data Research Hub for Real World Evidence in the UK. One of seven pioneering data hubs to be set up this October, it will enable cutting-edge research for health discoveries and will aim to give patients across the UK faster access to pioneering new treatments. Discover-NOW will bring together NHS organisations, globally recognised academic, commercial and charity partners as well as patients and the public to revolutionise the way health information is used to treat and prevent disease in the future. We will scale our already leading data eco-system working in partnership with technology and academic partners such as Google Health, IBM, Northwest EHealth, Imperial College and Medopad.

Starting with Type 2 Diabetes, Discover-NOW will also use real world data to improve understanding of many long-term conditions. This initial work is in partnership with AstraZeneca constituting one of their most significant investments in Europe.

Working together in this way, using advanced technologies and artificial intelligence, will find new life saving treatments for these conditions, and even prevent them altogether. Its focus will be to curate a broad range of patient information in a secure and trusted way, provide leading clinicians, researchers and scientists with access to de-identified patient information in near real time to enable them to make discoveries that have not been possible before now.

Historically health research has predominantly used data to look retrospectively. Through safe and secure curation of patient information, Discover-NOW will provide leading clinicians, researchers and scientists with access to de-identified linked patient information at scale in near to real time. This will enable them to look prospectively to identify new patterns in disease thus helping us to better manage many conditions and, in some cases, prevent them happening in the first place.

Dr Axel Heitmueller, Managing Director of Imperial College Health Partners and Director of the Discover-NOW – the Health Data Research Hub for Real World Evidence, said:

“Through the safe and secure curation of patient information Discover-NOW will create a step change in the way health information is accessed and analysed to accelerate the development of new treatments, devices and applications that support better management and prevention of a range of conditions. This work will benefit millions of people into the future and contribute significantly to the health and wellbeing of our population.”

Discover-NOW will initially focus on the diverse population of North West London of 2.3million people, in time scaling to the whole of London – a population of circa 9 million people. Through our partners in Manchester, Northwest EHealth, Discover-NOW will also have the ability to make even more health information accessible in a trusted and secure way.

Discover-NOW has the potential to benefit millions of people, however, we will only realise these benefits if we have the support and trust of our communities and wider population. It is only through working in partnership with our communities that we will understand their expectations with regards to how their information should be used, enabling us to design a Hub that operates in line with these thus building trust.

 John Norton, Citizen Partner of Discover-NOW – the Health Data Research Hub for Real World Evidence, said:

“As a London citizen I am hugely excited about this initiative and the benefits it will bring to patients and the public. Through bringing information that already exists about us as patients together and enabling researchers and scientists to access this in new and secure ways, the Discover-NOW Hub could be the key to unlocking new life saving treatments or even preventing killer diseases altogether. Data really can save lives”


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Katie Harrison, Communications Lead