As part of the CHC programme, GM CHC has built an infrastructure to support implementation of the Learning Health System (LHS) cycle. This includes extraction, linkage and analysis of health data as well as rapid adoption and evaluation of interventions under proper research conditions whilst providing a continuous feedback loop of improvement and support for change.
The core element of the GM CHC infrastructure is the Ark, a research facility that aggregates data from different settings (such primary care, secondary care, and social care) in real time to produce timely, actionable intelligence. The Ark includes the Trustworthy Research Environment (TRE), a data safe haven which enables secure data sharing for research under controlled conditions; as well as an experienced team of specialists in information governance (IG, public engagement, information security, data management, epidemiology,and statistical analysis.
The Ark aimed to reduce the existing fragmentation and inefficiency of health data analysis in the region. Infrastructure for, and experience with, accessing and analysing health data is currently distributed across a large number of organisations (such the NHS, Public Health England, commissioning groups, and the University of Manchester) and people, with limited sharing of knowledge, experience, and tools between them. The Ark is designed to overcome these challenges as a hub for all research with health data in the GM region because it is generic (i.e. it can be used and re-used across different projects and datasets), and is scalable (i.e. it can adapt to novel data sources). Every health researcher in GM can analyse health data through the Ark (provided appropriate IG controls are in place).