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How UK Universities Are Using Patient Data in Research: New #DataSavesLives Animation Launched

A new animation has been created to answer questions about the use of patient data by UK
universities, researchers and scientists.

Produced in collaboration with patients and members of the public by Connected Health Cities and
The Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, the 3 minute animated film has been designed to
increase public awareness of how routinely collected NHS data is safely and securely re-used by
universities for health research.

The animation takes viewers on a journey to understand how patient data is created and shared and
the important role it plays in research to improve the health of patients and populations. Examples
are highlighted with relevant case studies and the measures that universities must take to ensure
patient data is protected and accessed is explained.

The animation forms part of the #DataSavesLives campaign that has been supported by Connected
Health Cities, The Farr Institute and The Data Lab since it was launched by
The University of Manchester in 2015.

Stephen Melia, Communications Lead at Connected Health Cities (CHC) said: “Over the last four
years we’ve been engaging with patients and members of the public in a variety of ways to highlight
the positive re-use of patient data in research. We’ve found that often people have the same
questions and sometimes a lack of understanding about how their data is used and shared to
improve health.

“Teaming up with our colleagues at The Farr Institute, we wanted to create a short video that
answered these questions and reassured people that UK universities take seriously their
responsibilities regarding the safe and secure use of patient data. Ultimately it’s about transparency
and being open about the work we deliver”

“We developed the animation with patients and members of the public from across the UK. It’s
really important to both organisations that we listen to what the public have to say on the subject of
health data sharing and this approach is embedded into our research.”

Cherry Martin, Communications Manager at The Farr Institute said: “The #DataSavesLives campaign
is a plain-English way of talking about health data science research and the positive impacts it has on
patients and society. It helps us build public trust around using
patient data in research and allows us to highlight the work being done that really is helping to save
lives. Social media is a powerful tool. The #DataSavesLives campaign has created a direct channel of
communication between health data professionals and the public and is now used by organisations
across the world, united in supporting the re-use of data for research.“

“It’s a way for the research community to say “this is why we do what we do”, and hopefully helps
non-expert audiences and the public to understand why using data in research is important for all of us.”

“We hope this short film will be a useful tool for health and research communities to stimulate
discussions around the importance of patient data over the coming months and we invite all corners
of the research community, NHS, charities, industry, and indeed the public, to support our message by sharing the video – data really does save lives.”

The animation can be viewed at

For more information or to request a media pack, please contact Stephen Melia
( or Cherry Martin (

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