Health Data Science in Scotland: Opportunities and Challenges

Colin McCowan (University of St Andrews)

The increasing availability and subsequent use of electronic health records over the last 25 years has changed the clinical research landscape as witnessed by the growth and prominence of hitherto unheard of disciplines such as health data science and digital epidemiology. As these disciplines have matured a number of new or revised challenges have arisen which have needed new ways of working and thinking. This revolution in how we do research has also facilitated new ways of feeding knowledge back into the health system to improve the service and hopefully also improve the lives of patients.

The use of EHRs to support clinical research will be illustrated using examples of research undertaken over the past 25 years and will highlight the current infrastructure within Scotland for undertaking health data science. The challenge of how to place the findings from research within an integrated learning health system will also be discussed using a number of current projects and initiatives. The challenges and opportunities of working within this arena will be addressed.