SeRP praised as model TRE in review commissioned by Secretary of State for Health & Social Care

SeRP – the Secure eResearch Platform – is a data solutions technology housed within Population Data Science at Swansea University Medical School.

SeRP has been recognised as a model for future Trusted Research Environment (TRE) development in the health data landscape in an independent report published by the UK Government’s Department of Health and Social Care.

Published on 7th April 2022, Clinical Researcher at the University of Oxford and Director of the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science, Professor Ben Goldacre, led the report into the safe and effective use of health data for research.

“Secure platforms can be built for less than the cost of digitising one hospital. If this job is done well, then the system can finally unleash the full power of all NHS data ever collected…”

– Professor Ben Goldacre.

The report aims to identify improvements in the way health data is stored, accessed and used, by investigating factors such as technical infrastructure, data quality, transparency, privacy concerns and cultural considerations.

The report recognises the value, and potential value, of the UK’s health data to provide global health insights owing to its richness and diversity. This comprehensive report makes a total of 30 overarching recommendations and concludes that, with sufficient investment, using this data safely and effectively could substantially accelerate public health advancements through research.

“The rewards of getting it right are profound, with not just lives saved but longer, healthier and happier lives too…I am confident that the future of health research will be bright”

– Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The report writes descriptively and extensively about TRE’s as the data infrastructure with the potential to unlock NHS data for the public good. Therein, SeRP has been spotlighted several times.

In considering the practical components of stand-out TRE’s, SeRP’s approach to governance, platform customisation, collaboration and knowledge sharing was examined and recommended as a blueprint for the future establishment of successful TREs.

Also praised in the report were the personnel behind SeRP – a team of experts responsible for creating, maintaining and progressing SeRP’s robust framework.

“…the excellent work at SAIL/SeRP… where open collaborative working with modern computational data science techniques has been the norm for many years.”

‘Use TREs – where all analysts work in a standard environment – as a strategic opportunity to drive modern, efficient, open, collaborative approaches to data science.’

Commenting on the report, Professor David Ford, Director of SeRP, said, “It has been my pleasure to contribute to a report of this scope and magnitude. I hope doing so will provide the clinical and health data research community an opportunity to build on and exploit the advancements we’ve made here at SeRP, and in TRE’s elsewhere, to maximise the enormous potential that health data holds for our collective benefit.”

The full report can be found here – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1067053/goldacre-review-using-health-data-for-research-and-analysis.pdf

A summary of the report can be found here – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1067057/executive-summary-goldacre-review-using-health-data-for-research-and-analysis.pdf