Can data save lives?

We live in an era where data is now a more valuable commodity than oil. The human body contains nearly 150 trillion gigabytes of information, the equivalent of 75 billion 16GB iPads.

Imagine how much data there is across an entire population and what life-saving information could be unearthed. 

In this debate, we’ll be asking important questions about the future of medical data and how this will impact our daily lives. We’ll be discussing the possibilities data might open up, like whether social media could become a platform for preventative healthcare tools. And could clinicians use predictive analytics to prevent potentially deadly conditions? But we’ll also be examining the dangers, asking questions like: who should own data? Can you copyright your DNA? And should we be able to monetise our health data?

To explore these complexities in depth we’ll be joined by:

  • ‘Mind for hire’ Phil Booth, who co-ordinates medConfidential, an organisation that campaigns for confidentiality and consent in health and social care. He has also led campaigns to defeat the introduction of ID cards and other ‘database state’ initiatives.
  • Wellbeing expert Charlotte Crowther, who has advised and worked for health and wellbeing tech companies looking at how technology can revolutionise and improve their service.
  • Head of public engagement at the Wellcome Trust Imran Khan has worked on The Wellcome Global Monitor – the world’s first world-wide study of how people think and feel about science and health.
  • Sinead Mac Manus is a Senior Programme Manager for Digital Health in the Health Lab. Prior to Nesta Sinead was one of the founding team of Health Foundry, a digital health incubator funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity in Waterloo.


Come and express your concerns and hopes for the future of medical data and what it means for our survival.