Dr Data: The Answer to Cancer?

Join Aileen Keel and Dave Robertson at 1.50pm, Saturday 19th August to discuss the role data can play in improving cancer care in Scotland. 

Tell us a bit about yourselves

Professor Aileen Keel is the Director of the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme, which seeks to fundamentally change the way that data and analytics are used to drive improvement in health outcomes, by fostering new relationships between the NHS, industry, academia, and the third sector. Prior to, she was the Acting Chief Medical Officer for Scottish Government.

Professor Dave Robertson is Chair of Applied Logic and was appointed Dean of Special Projects in Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. In August 2017 he will become Head of College of Science & Engineering. Prior to this, Dave was Head of School of Informatics at the University. Dave has a particular focus on medicine and healthcare.

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

The show offers a great opportunity to raise awareness around sharing cancer data to improve outcomes in Scotland.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

Health data is personal so, without the right safeguards, sharing heath data poses risks to data confidentiality.  The Care.data controversy in NHS England in 2014 demonstrates how this can go wrong.

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial?

People’s caution in this area is understandable. We need to be able to convey that the benefits of sharing cancer data vastly outweigh the risks and that there are safe guards in place to ensure patient confidentiality. The Care.data debacle arose from NHS England failing to communicate the benefits through a properly organised national publicity campaign. People were also concerned about the potential sharing of data with private companies, which is not something envisaged in NHS Scotland.

Why is the topic important to you?

Scotland’s cancer outcomes are worse than those in the rest of the UK and other similar northern European countries. The reasons for this are not fully understood. We believe that until we are able to join up all the pots of cancer data that are sitting throughout NHS Scotland, into a Scottish Cancer Intelligence Framework, we will not be able to fully understand why our survival rates are poorer, and be able to focus our efforts and resources on areas which will change that picture.

Describe your show in 3 words

Truthful. Straightforward. Illuminating.

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

They will learn about the need for joined up cancer data and the benefits of a Scottish Cancer Intelligence Framework. They will also learn that the overwhelming majority of cancer patients already want their data to be shared to benefit themselves, their families and future research.


Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe