On April 19th, Health Data Insight (HDI) held its 2023 symposium at the Clayton Hotel in Cambridge. The event brought together healthcare professionals, researchers, and industry leaders to share their knowledge, experiences, and insights on the use of health data to improve patient care.

The day was full of engaging presentations, interactive discussions, and opportunities for networking. The program covered a wide range of topics, from the role of HDI and its broader remit as a Community Interest Company, to the latest advances in genomics data and the value of partnerships in healthcare.

The morning session featured presentations on new insights and their impact on patient care. Helen Morement, CEO of AMMF, the Cholangiocarcinoma Charity, discussed how data analysis has helped improve patient care, while Sophie Jose, HDI’s Principal Analyst, gave an overview of the project.

A presentation by Nigel Trudgill, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Sandwell & West Birmingham Trust on the Post-Colonoscopy ColoRectal Cancer (PCCRC) audit portal highlighted the lessons learned and challenges of engaging clinicians. Tim Gentry, Chief Technology Officer at HDI, provided updates on the automation of programming and portal development as well as HDI’s “Way of Working”; using a consistent, high-quality approach to Software Engineering at HDI.

HDI symposium 2023 nigel trudgill

The symposium then shifted focus to improving data access, with presentations on the transformation of genomics data feeds by Steven Hardy, Head of Genomics and Rare Disease, National Disease Registration Service (NDRS), NHS England, who outlined the challenges of dealing with genomic data in a huge variety of formats supplied by genomic laboratories and hospitals.

HDI symposium 2023 Steven hardy

Lora Frayling, Data Scientist at HDI spoke about the making of Simulacrum II, a synthetic version of the cancer data held by the NDRS that incorporates genomic and radiotherapy data. Attendees also learned about the practical applications and evaluation of Simulacrum II from Betina Blak, Real World Evidence Scientific Lead at AstraZeneca.

HDI symposium 2023 Lora Frayling

After a buffet lunch, participants engaged in small group discussions, exploring topics related to the morning’s presentations.

HDI symposium 2023 group discussion

 “I particularly enjoyed the buzz, the excitement, enthusiasm, and engagement in the room”

The afternoon session continued with a talk by Sara Hiom, VP, NHS Implementation & External Affairs, GRAIL and Clare Pearson, Senior Health Data Analyst HDI, on how complex it can be to answer what seem at first glance like simple questions (in this case – “How much does it cost to treat cancer patients at different stages of diagnosis?”)

HDI symposium 2023 Sara hiom

Sarah Stevens, Associate Director, National Disease Registration Service, NHS England gave an overview of the benefits of NDRS working in partnership with organisations like HDI, jointly supporting the  development and application of innovative approaches and statistical techniques to the collection, quality insurance, data linkages and analyses of registry data.

HDI symposium 2023 Sarah stevens

Kim Whittlestone, Chief Operating Officer, HDI wrapped up the formal presentations with a wry look at recruiting and retaining talent at HDI, drawing on the experience of recruiting the 2023 intake of HDI interns.

HDI symposium 2023 kim whittlestone

The event concluded with closing thoughts from David Bower, Non-Exec Director at HDI, and Jem Rashbass, Chief Executive Officer at HDI.

HDI symposium 2023 jem rashbass

Feedback from the symposium was overwhelmingly positive, with attendees praising the balance of talks, speakers, and format. Participants particularly appreciated the networking opportunities and the chance to reconnect with colleagues and meet new people in person. Many also highlighted the engaging round table discussions, the insights into HDI’s goals and focus, and the sense of community and collaboration that pervaded the event.

 “Really helpful to see the breadth and detail of this critical work”

The HDI Symposium fostered a strong sense of collaboration among those present, bringing a range of topics and a group of people together in a way that simply isn’t possible day to day. As we look forward to future events, we hope that the 2023 HDI Symposium has set the stage for continued growth and innovation in the world of healthcare data.

 “I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Symposium yesterday.  It was definitely my most enjoyable day at work since at least 2019!”

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