• Dr Bina Rawal

    Posted in category Opinion by Dr Bina Rawal on 15/10/2013

    360° of Health Data – not your ‘usual’ R&D conference

In the first of a series of blogs in the run-up to our ‘360° of Health Data’ conference, the ABPI’s Medical, Innovation and Research Director, Bina Rawal, tells us what to expect from this much-anticipated event …


I joined the ABPI almost exactly one year ago, and one of the first ABPI events I attended was our ‘Health Research - Partnership for Success’ R&D conference. This successful event encouraged me to set a challenge for my department – to plan and deliver a partnered anniversary conference to demonstrate how the UK can remain at the forefront of life sciences research and development (R&D) globally.

So, I am particularly pleased that this year, on 21 November we will be running ‘360° of Health Data: Harnessing Big Data for Better Health’ in partnership with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

The UK boasts unparalleled global ‘cradle-to-grave’ healthcare and data, and has been a world-leader in projects such as the General Practice Research Database (GPRD). The December 2011 launch of the Government’s 10-year strategy for UK life sciences has led to a number of investments and initiatives (CPRD, HSCIC, Farr Institute) to build capabilities for research based on electronic health record systems, demonstrating their clear commitment to leveraging electronic data for the benefit of patients.

The UK is uniquely positioned to lead the world in integrating data at every single step of the value chain from early discovery to distribution and supply chain. Efforts need to be co-ordinated across sectors, generating a rapid increase in skills and capacity at all levels in data analytics, and developing a data ecosystem. Importantly, we need a focus on creating awareness of the value that can be derived from ‘big data'. 

But how can the life sciences industry work in partnership with academics, the NHS and research funders to create this awareness, whilst also maximising the UK environment to deliver innovation and benefits for patients?

In attempting to answer that question, I commissioned a project to develop a 'Big Data Roadmap' for the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that we played our part in delivering the benefits that the big data revolution can deliver for both healthcare and economic growth in the UK. I am pleased to say that this roadmap will be launched at the conference and be part of the stimulating debate.

Our '360° of Health Data' conference focuses on this data revolution and its potential for the biopharmaceutical industry, NHS and patients. By taking part in the conference, our members will hear how changes to the UK’s research data landscape are creating new opportunities for the life science sector to harness big data to drive innovation. They will hear about data needs and opportunities to improve productivity. They will be able to engage with the experts responsible for shaping the new landscape by taking part in workshops and put questions to our discussion panels.

But this conference isn’t only for ABPI members, with inspiring speakers from government, industry, the NHS, academia and research contributing their perspectives and experience throughout the day, this event is a ‘must-attend’ by anyone with an interest in delivering better health through access to electronic health data, whether an academic, healthcare professional or commissioner.

And as for me – I am most looking forward to the morning session examining the use of big data in transforming the development of business models for R&D. As a clinician, I’m also expecting the session on patients harnessing big data in the afternoon to provide really interesting insights into how technology and social networking can be used to help patients manage their own health, and explore how patients would like to see their data used to benefit others.

So will this conference answer my challenge to demonstrate how the UK can remain at the forefront of life sciences R&D globally? You’ll have to come along to find out!

The ABPI and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) conference ‘360° of Health Data’ is on 21 November 2013. To register or find out more about the conference, visit: www.abpievents.org.uk 

Username: R&DConference, Password: November2013

Dr Bina Rawal

Director of Medical, Innovation and Research

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