The Farr Institute Up-skill Welsh Government Staff on the Use of Big Data in Healthcare

Published on: 7th March 2018

Welsh Government staff have been provided with the opportunity to develop their existing capabilities in health data science and broaden their understanding of both ‘big data’ and healthcare, thanks to funding from The Farr Institute at Swansea University.

One of the Welsh Government team to benefit from this scheme is Tony Whiffen, a member of the Knowledge and Analytical Services (KAS) within Welsh Government. Tony was seconded to Swansea University for a year and has been a core member of The Farr Institute team, handling day to day activities and experiences alongside fellow team members.

As part of the secondment, the opportunity was made available to enrol on the Masters in Health Data Science (MSc) and complete a health informatics based project using large scaled pseudonymised data within the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank.

Tony commented, “This has been an excellent career development opportunity for me, providing practical experience and transferrable skills with big data. I look forward to building on this experience on my return to Welsh Government.”

This growing collaboration between colleagues at Swansea University and the Welsh Government has led to a unique insight into both the growing health research capability and opportunities available, including the short and long term benefits in the future. Some of these include:

  • better methods and practices from both to work together in the future
  • potential future research projects
  • future work needed to develop new and improved methods of data collection in Wales
  • additional data which could be provided by Welsh Government to Swansea University to increase research opportunities

Ashley Akbari, Senior Research Officer of The Farr Institute Swansea University, added, “The use of big data in health within a team science environment provides an excellent opportunity to prudently make a change to the services received and the health of people in Wales. We were delighted to collaborate with colleagues in Welsh Government and make this flexible working opportunity available to Tony to gain further skills and effectively and confidently work with health data and appropriate techniques.”

For further information on the MSc Health Data Science course visit: www.swansea.ac.uk/mschealthdatascience

Enquiries to Sarah Toomey, Communications Officer, Farr Institute CIPHER, s.toomey@swansea.ac.uk

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