Harnessing the power of data for treatment - Barts Charity

How harnessing the power of data can lead to more successful treatment

The Precision Medicine Platform will bring patient data from across Barts Health NHS Trust, into one accessible resource to improve research and allow doctors to identify treatments according to individual circumstances.

  • Date: September 14, 2023
We have awarded £5 million over four years to establish a highly secure database of patient data from a diverse community of over 2.5 million people in East London. Data will be prepared and analysed to help discover which treatments work best for which patients, improving personalised treatment.  

The power of health data  

Data can help build a picture of someone’s health and doctors can use this information to tailor treatments to each patient. This is known as precision – or personalised – medicine. When doctors are able to choose your treatment according to your individual characteristics, it’s more likely to be successful.  

The NHS captures almost all the interactions patients have with its health services across the country, including diagnoses, treatments and outcomes. For this data to be useful, experts need to carefully link, securely store and manage the data, and make it accessible for researchers to analyse. However, it is time consuming for researchers to access this data. The Precision Medicine Platform will aim to bridge this gap, bringing data together in a more accessible format. 

Building a ‘research-ready’ database with the Precision Medicine platform 

A team of experts at Barts Health NHS Trust will build a highly secure database of NHS patient data from a diverse community of over 2.5 million people in East London.  

The Precision Medicine Platform will bring all health data from across the Trust, including imaging, electronic health records and genomics into one resource. Researchers will be able to access ‘research-ready’ data – updated in real time – to study a wide range of diseases and help find out which treatments are best for each patient. 

This team will:  

  • Bring all health data, such as imaging, electronic health records and genomics into one resource. 
  • Create secure data environments that researchers can access remotely and carry out analysis. 
  • Streamline the process of data access so that it’s easier and faster for researchers to get access to this data.  
  • Build stronger decision-making processes around data access.  
  • Develop training and workshops to ensure researchers and healthcare professionals understand how to access and use the data. 

Patients will be at the centre of this and will be able to advise on which research projects should be prioritised, according to the needs of the people of East London.  

To reassure people that their data will be handled safely and ethically, patients will also be involved in developing the policies and procedures around access. 

Putting East London at the forefront of health data innovation 

Digital transformation is one of our key funding themes as we strive, alongside our partners, to provide life-improving healthcare for the people of East London.  Barts Charity previously awarded just under £1 million to the team for a project to scope out the development of a Precision Medicine Platform. This was coupled with £5.7 million to recruit and establish key research expertise in health data research at Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Barts Health. 

East London is one of the most richly diverse populations in the UK, which means that analysing East London’s patient data could help save lives around the world and ensure people from underrepresented groups are well represented. By creating a secure environment for researchers to study health data, the team hopes to transform healthcare in East London from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to more tailored management and treatment, ultimately leading to healthier East London lives. 


We are excited by the opportunity this funding will bring to support researchers and clinicians in finding new approaches to improving health outcomes in East London through data.
Steven Newhouse, Deputy Chief Information Officer – Precision Medicine.