Understanding Health Data Access


A new series of short films and website content has been published to support researchers and others who wish to access health and care data for uses beyond treating individuals.

Complex rules govern how health and care data can be shared for research, innovation, healthcare improvement and other uses beyond individual patient care. Making sense of the permission process and legal requirements can prove daunting, both for new data applicants and for any patients and the public interested in understanding how the system works in practice.

The Understanding Health Data Access (UHDA) project is a suite of introductory resources explaining the rules that govern how health and social care data is shared in England and Wales. It includes:

  • An Introduction to Developing Good Data Applications – an animated film introducing the principles that data custodians work within to ensure that data is shared safely, legally, fairly and with public benefit. This will be of particular benefit to those with little previous or recent experience of making data applications.
  • The Duty of Confidentiality – a more detailed look at the legal requirements around the Duty of Confidentiality: how it arises, how it can be met, and it how this applies to health data applications.
  • Planning a Health Data Application: Questions and Information Sources - a downloadable visual guide illustrating key steps in planning an application, and providing collated guidance and information across the research and data sharing pathway.

You can access the Understanding Health Data Access project using this link.

The UHDA project is funded by the Health Foundation and delivered by Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).


Published 19th March 2021