Keeping health data secure in a Trustworthy Research Environment

data trust & security

Health researchers often use personal data in their research. This data is extremely sensitive; it can include confidential information such as patients’ medical history. If the wrong person accessed this information, it would be a severe breach of confidentiality. As a result, we must ensure that all human health data used in research is stored and handled securely.

The Health eResearch Centre (HeRC) keeps its data safe using the Trustworthy Research Environment (also known as the HeRC TRE), a data analytics resource certified to ISO27001 and hosted on campus. The TRE is used in a large number of the Health eResearch Centre and Connected Health Cities’ (CHC’s) research projects, such as CHC’s exploration of wound care data, a project that uses existing wound care records to improve wound assessment and treatment. The TRE is also used in various projects that are external to HeRC and CHC, and is available to host research on behalf of any organisation.

The TRE uses a number of strict security controls to prevent unauthorised access and misuse of data. The TRE is the only data analytics resource at The University of Manchester that offers a connection to the NHS’s Health and Social Care Network (HSCN, formerly known as N3), a secure, private network that allows researchers quick and efficient access to NHS data, and which allows The University of Manchester to share data and web-based services with staff at the NHS.

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