New £950,000 project aims to improve health services in Swansea, Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot

A project to improve health services in Swansea, Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot through the better use of patient records and data has received funding from a new multi-million pound Welsh Government programme to promote the research and development industry.

The three-year Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Catalyst Programme, also funded by the Technology Strategy Board, aims to boost the research and development industry, increase commercialisation of new technologies and create jobs and wealth.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board in partnership with Swansea University has received £800,000 funding towards their £950,000 project.

Companies including Welsh businesses can now bid for a contract to find the best way to use data from Swansea University’s Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank to improve services.

The SAIL databank, developed by the University’s College of Medicine, links together health and social demographic data to create a complete record for individuals, which is totally anonymised to comply with all data protection rules.

Professor Andrew Davies, Chairman of ABMU Health Board, said: “The unique SAIL databank allows us a more complete picture of individual’s health records from a variety of sources. This will help us better understand the health needs of our citizens and predict how these might change in the future. It will also help us monitor the effectiveness of measures we are taking now to improve public health, such as tackling childhood obesity and reducing levels of smoking,

We expect it will also lead to a much more efficient use of resources and help us improve the services our patients need and improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve.”

Professor David Ford, co-director of SAIL, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we will be working with ABMU to help them to engage with innovative companies to deliver new ways in which the SAIL Databank can be used to support ABMU’s work. Our partnership with ABMU and companies that will become involved in the initiative will undoubtedly develop some outstanding new software products that leverage the power of SAIL databank for patient benefit.”

Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, said: “The Welsh SBRI Innovation Catalyst Programme is a new collaboration between the Welsh Government and the Technology Strategy Board. By encouraging new innovative public sector projects, this programme will create more research and development contracts for Welsh businesses to bid for, helping that sector to grow and create jobs.

I hope that, ultimately, SBRI will be used throughout the Welsh public sector for promoting innovation and providing new opportunities for businesses in Wales.”