New faces on our Advisory Board: An introduction to Dr Peter Bloomfield

In July, the PRSB was delighted to welcome Dr Peter Bloomfield as a representative for National Voices on our Advisory Board. Peter is currently the Head of Policy and Research at Future Care Capital and has a PhD in neuroscience from Imperial College London. We caught up with Peter and got to know a bit more about him, his views on the state and future of information standards and why high-quality medical tools need high-quality data.

Tell us about yourself, your professional background and your work with National Voices

Hi, I’m Head of Policy and Research at Future Care Capital, which is a charity research organisation and think tank that focuses on data, technology, innovation, investment and climate. Our work is all about imagining the future of health and social care. We work with policy makers, practitioners and through national voices also citizens. This is to help design and deliver the best fit for purpose health and care system possible. Previously I was an academic and my research was in the field of neuroscience, I have worked with industry, tech start-ups and government on a range of tech, health, and care issues.

How can our two organisations – PRSB and National Voices – make a real difference to people’s experience of care and treatment?

The voice of the patient or person engaging with care services is vital to the design, and improvement of, care provision. The introduction of standards and setting an appropriately high bar is essential to this and this shouldn’t happen in isolation. This is where PRSB’s approach and interaction with National Voices can create high quality standards which meet the needs of those engaged with care services.

What made you interested in clinical informatics and data standards?

Health and care provision is increasingly digital and the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how useful data can be, but it has also highlighted where the collection and availability of data needs to be rapidly improved. As more tools are developed and improved for management systems, data-driven products and medical devices, the standards relating to the data underpinning them need to be high quality. These products, services and tools are only ever as good as the data which makes up their foundations and this influences the onward quality of care provided.

What do you hope to contribute to the Advisory Board and how will it inform/improve your work?

I hope that my experience of research in healthcare and life sciences combined with industry experience and work with tech companies will help to bring a range of different perspectives and help with the development of robust standards which are compatible with innovation. The care sector is often overshadowed by healthcare and I am keen to demonstrate some of the great opportunities there.

Which areas of PRSB’s work are you most interested in and why?

The development of digital standards and looking at safety, effectiveness and sustainability of systems is a really interesting area and I think there is a lot of potential for PRSB where other technical standards bodies are potentially less willing or able to engage. Maintaining the focus on patients and citizen voice is really important and it is useful for creating standards which work well for patients and practitioners alike.

What should the future priorities for information standards be? What are the key issues that need to be addressed?

Developing information standards which stand the test of time is a key priority. Incorporating approaches which enable consistent improvement that keeps up with the pace of changing technology rather than ticking a box is essential. An area I have always been interested in is the increasingly blurry lines between health and care compared to lifestyle or well-being.

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