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Tackling health and social inequalities in data-driven systems

Research to examine the interaction between data-driven systems and health and social inequalities, in the wake of COVID-19

1 November 2020

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COVID-19 cases globally
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development and application of data-driven technologies and systems for health and health care. 
  • We are partnering with the Health Foundation to examine the interaction between data-driven systems and health and social inequalities, in the wake of the pandemic. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the wider governmental and societal response, have brought health inequalities into sharp focus.

Data-driven technologies and the systems within which they operate have increasingly become a central part of the health infrastructure – a trend accelerated by the pandemic. Tools, such as symptom tracking and digital contact tracing apps, are being mobilised at pace and their use during the pandemic may well become the norm for the future.

However, little is known about the long-term impact of data-driven approaches. There is a risk that they are exacerbating health inequalities, but also there is great potential for them to shed light on, and address inequalities when designed well.

The partnership between the Ada Lovelace Institute and the Health Foundation will explore how the accelerated adoption of data-driven technologies and systems during the pandemic, may have affected inequalities. Together we will generate an evidence base around the interaction between these technologies and health outcomes, building a shared understanding of the actions needed to reduce health inequalities and improve people’s health.

The advisory group

Throughout the research, an advisory group of specialists in philosophy, global and public health, patient and public advocacy, as well as ethics and industry will help to provide guidance to the development of the project.

Get involved

In the months ahead we’ll be sharing more information about how you can get involved. If you are interested in finding out more please contact the team via