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HA-HKSTP Data Lab Transforms Research in Hong Kong

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In a major stride towards advancing scientific research and innovation in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority (HA) and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) have officially launched the ‘Data Collaboration Lab’ at the Science Park.

Image credits: Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation

This groundbreaking initiative marks a pivotal moment in the region’s technological evolution, offering eligible innovation and technology (I&T) enterprises in Science Park access to HA clinical data for research and development endeavours. The collaborative effort aims to bolster clinical research efforts in Hong Kong, ultimately leading to advancements that benefit patients and society at large.

The journey towards the establishment of the Data Collaboration Lab began with a collaboration agreement signed between the HA and HKSTP in September of the previous year. This agreement laid the foundation for a pilot programme aimed at providing I&T enterprises with access to HA’s clinical data, beyond the confines of traditional academic research and development.

Through rigorous testing and evaluation, the initiative has culminated in the creation of the first-of-its-kind platform in Hong Kong, dedicated to facilitating access to invaluable clinical data for research purposes.

Initial trials of the platform involved engagement with two leading biotechnology enterprises within the Science Park. Feedback from these enterprises has been overwhelmingly positive, with participants lauding the quality of the data, the robustness of the technology platform, and the overall user experience. The insights gained from these trials underscore the significant value of HA’s clinical data in driving innovation and advancing scientific research in Hong Kong.

With the successful completion of the pilot programme, the HA and HKSTP are now poised to offer access to the data platform to all eligible research institutions within Science Park. This includes a wide spectrum of entities, primarily focusing on biotech and healthcare sectors. The platform grants access to anonymised data sourced from HA’s extensive database, encompassing a wealth of patient information such as demographic characteristics, medical histories, diagnostic records, treatment procedures, medication usage, and examination results.

Mr Dennis Lee, Senior Systems Manager of the HA, emphasised the pivotal role of the data platform in promoting the development of clinical research. He highlighted its potential to unlock new avenues for scientific exploration and innovation in Hong Kong, ultimately contributing to advancements in life sciences and healthcare. Dr Grace Lau, Head of the Institute for Translational Research at HKSTP, echoed these sentiments, stressing the transformative power of data in driving innovation and technological development.

To ensure the safety and privacy of patient data, comprehensive measures have been implemented. Personal identifiers have been meticulously removed from the dataset, and stringent protocols are in place to govern data usage and access authorisation. HKSTP has established dedicated committees, including a Clinical Research Ethics Committee and a Data Governance Committee, to oversee compliance with data protection regulations and ethical standards.

Furthermore, HKSTP has implemented robust security measures to safeguard data integrity and privacy. The network hosting the data platform is isolated from external access, with onsite personnel, surveillance systems, and restricted access rooms ensuring comprehensive protection against unauthorised breaches.

Looking ahead, the HA and HKSTP remain steadfast in their commitment to supporting the government’s initiatives aimed at promoting scientific research and innovation. By fostering collaboration between research institutions and technology enterprises, they aim to catalyse a culture of innovation and drive meaningful advancements in scientific research and healthcare delivery in Hong Kong and beyond.

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