Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre

Project Items

STRENGTH Study of Connected Health Cities – North East & North Cumbria (CHC NENC)

Connected Health Cities (CHC) is a £20 million initiative funded by the Department of Health in four regions comprising the North of England.

The goal is to generate innovations that can deliver more effective and efficient health and social care by using data and technology to identify health improvements and quickly implementing them into standard practice. CHC in the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) is establishing and piloting a secure and trusted data environment in which to acquire, process, share and analyse health and care data/information from the region’s hospitals, GP practices, community and social care settings and third sector organisations. The ARCHIE combines a trusted research environment (ARC) with a health information exchange (HIE) designed to integrate and transmit data. Once in place, the ARCHIE will facilitate development of a learning health system in which de-identified personal data are shared and used to improve health and social care, service planning and research.

The STRENGTH (STakeholdeR ENgaGemenT in the arcHie) study, led by Prof Madeleine Murtagh, uses ethnography to evidence how the ARCHIE is being developed and how social science concepts do – and don’t – shape practice(s). The STRENGTH study takes as its starting point Rosi Braidotti’s injunction that ‘We-are-all-in-this-together. But-we-are-not-one-and-the-same.” Creating an infrastructure like the ARCHIE draws upon stakeholders from the health service, academic and commercial partners and from citizens and patients at large. Professional expertise includes software and IT infrastructure developers, statisticians, business analysts, organisational/systems analysts, clinicians, health managers, ethicists, social scientists, communications specialists, information governance specialists, and more. Citizens are involved through consultative projects and co-production initiatives, such as the development of new tools like apps to record preferences for how personal data should be used. The STRENGTH research team is also leading on the development of socially and materially embedded governance practices within the ARCHIE.