Why use health data?

Healthcare systems are challenged by growing and ageing populations who are living with more chronic disease. There is a need for more effective and smarter medicine to deliver better care to patients. New opportunities are arising for treatment through genetics. Better decision making is possible using algorithms and artificial intelligence. All this needs to be delivered within the same healthcare budgets. Learning more from health data can contribute to discoveries that will show us how to make these improvements.

Every country needs to use its population‘s health data to learn how healthcare can be better delivered.



  • When all health providers caring for you have access to your up-to-date health data, they are able to provide more efficient, higher quality, safer and more personalised care and care coordination.

  • Patients looking into their own health data have insight in how their health is evolving over time. They will be more health literate and more empowered. They will adapt their lifestyle more easily which has a positive impact on outcomes and increases quality of life. Moreover, they will better interact with their health and care professionals.

  • Health data provided to scientific research will speed up the development of new medical products and treatments for individuals who need them.


There are a number of vitally needed healthcare improvements that are developed by different organisations working with health data, for example to:

  • identify risk factors and speed up diagnosis

  • identify pathways in disease transmission, thus preventing diseases or conditions

  • predict outcomes and increase the effectiveness of treatments

  • improve quality and safety of treatments

  • disseminate knowledge

  • improve public health strategy.

Healthcare providers

Individual health and care professionals and care provider organisations can use health data to:

  • redesign better care pathways

  • improve patient care

  • gain insights for strategic planning and organisational quality improvement

  • utilise healthcare resources more efficiently

  • participate in more clinical research.


Health data can support research organisations and scientific associations to develop new treatments and devices, for example:

  • a new drug to help tackle a cancer that is difficult to treat, developed by a pharmaceutical company

  • an infusion pump that delivers a controlled dose of medication to somebody on a continuous basis while they are at work or at home, developed by a medical device manufacturer

  • a smart monitoring system that gives the patient an alert on their mobile phone when a blood measurement needs urgent attention, developed by a health software company

  • a better way to support patients with advanced dementia in their home, pioneered by a social services organisation.