University of Essex (UK) Data partnership to improve health and wellbeing

The University of Essex is using its expertise in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to help make real-world improvements to vital hospital services in an exciting health partnership.

Bringing together academic and clinical expertise, the unique £500,000 partnership with the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) will help tackle complex public service challenges, promote evidence-based service provision and preventative solutions to key challenges, and improve the delivery of targeted services to the community.

Using state-of-the-art modelling, machine learning, analytics, automation and robotics it is hoped the collaboration can make everyone’s experience with the NHS better.

Welcoming the partnership, Dr Hugo Herrera, Head of Analytics at ESNEFT, said: “Like all NHS organisations we have huge amounts of data with a broad utility that, when combined with novel analytical techniques, can provide new insights on how we can improve our approach to planning or delivery of care.

“Through this partnership we will bring together data analysts in the NHS and academia to deliver better outputs from our data for our clinical colleagues.”

ESNEFT runs Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and community healthcare services in north Essex and east Suffolk. It oversees the clinical health and wellbeing of more than 750,000 people living in Essex and Suffolk.

Holly Leonard, Innovation Partnerships Manager at the University of Essex, said: “It’s incredibly gratifying to see the University’s world-leading expertise in data science and AI being applied to real-world challenges through this partnership.

“The collaboration with ESNEFT has the potential to genuinely improve health and wellbeing outcomes for people in our region at a time when external economic forces are making delivery of excellent healthcare extremely challenging. We’re delighted to be working to support NHS colleagues in addressing these challenges and maximising opportunities to make improvements through innovation.”

This partnership focuses on a range of areas including:

  • Undertaking joint research projects in health and wellbeing, including embedding advanced technologies and techniques in AI and data science in healthcare.
  • Supporting the development of joint research capacity through a new interdisciplinary research group on health.
  • Developing joint project proposals to undertake world-leading research, data collection and analysis to meet UK and global health challenges.

Dr Alexander Royan, Programme Director for Analytics, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, added: “By collaborating with academics in fields such as AI or machine learning, we will be taking further strides in maximising the value of our data for the betterment of patient care.”