SFI teams up with industry to advance data in healthcare research

23 Mar 2023

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SFI centre FutureNeuro will receive support from Novartis Ireland and IQVIA on two health data-focused projects called Datascape and Legend.

Researchers with Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) research centre for chronic and rare neurological disease, FutureNeuro, will collaborate with industry on two projects focused on advancing the use of data in healthcare research and clinical care.

FutureNeuro will work with Novartis Ireland and IQVIA Ireland on the research. The companies will provide support and funding to SFI researchers as they work on Datascape and Legend.

Both the Datascape and Legend projects are part of Empower, a wider €10m academic and industry research programme established by four SFI research centres to encourage innovation in data protection internationally and promote ethical data usage.

FutureNeuro is one of the four centres involved in Empower along with Lero, Insight and Adapt.

The centre will collaborate with the Irish branch of US-headquartered provider of analytics and tech tools to healthcare companies, IQVIA, on Datascape.

Datascape explores the attitudes, expectations and concerns that stakeholders may have regarding the use of health data for healthcare improvement and research.

It will consider how scientists can develop a culture of trust that promotes the safe use of health data in clinical care.

“With Datascape, we aim to address the question of how we can maximise the value of health data to drive innovation in healthcare and services while ensuring that we safeguard the best interests of the patients who own the data and healthcare authorities who are the custodians of the data,” said Prof Kathleen Bennett, the FutureNeuro lead investigator on the project.

Bennett is also head of the data science centre at RCSI’s School of Population Health.

She will work on the Legend project, too, alongside co-lead investigator Prof Colin Doherty of Trinity College Dublin and FutureNeuro. Legend is co-funded by Novartis Ireland, the Irish branch of the pharma giant.

Legend focuses on the development of a prototype Learning Health System. Following ethical approval, the system will integrate patient data from clinical dashboards that come from day-to-day electronic patient record (EPR) use with research analytics.

Legend has the potential to be applicable to a lot of health conditions, however, it will benefit from the epilepsy EPR which currently supports research questions in the use of large-scale data analytics to predict treatment outcomes and plan personalised interventions.

“The ability to interrogate data at scale is vital to inform improvements in individualised patient care and wider population health, ensuring that health resources are used for the maximum benefit of patients,” said Doherty.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.