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Evergreen Life: Response to reports that US tech firms want access to NHS data worth ‘£10bn’

Recent media reports have focused on the prospect that US businesses may want to buy patient data from the NHS.

Evergreen Life is spearheading the drive for everyone to have access to, and ownership of their personal health data. Part of a wider trend towards personalised medicine, it encourages users to take control of their health where their health information is currently spread across multiple systems.

Under the NHS GP contract, everyone in England has the right to have a copy of their GP records accessible to them, and to carry it in their pocket on an NHS-assured app like Evergreen Life. This then allows them to build a complete picture by adding records from every health organisation they use. Not only does this offer users a consolidated and wholistic view of their general health and wellbeing but, at a point where critical treatment may be necessary it will offer healthcare professionals a swift and full picture of the patient they’re treating.  

Patients asking their GP for their medical records will be met with a variety of responses, from the encouraging to the obstructive. It’s a complicated issue and a confusing picture, made all the more complex by inaccurate perceptions of the commercial value of the nation’s patient data.

This has been put at £10bn but the fragmented way the NHS keeps patient information means it is all-but financially un-viable to integrate. There is no integrated system in place which can make sense of the patient data which is stored in countless different databases.

Evergreen Life CEO Stephen Critchlow, says: “Recent reports that NHS patient data is a potential source of income for the government overlook that there is a value to the nation of people owning their own data, something our app makes it free and easy to do.

“We believe that people can curate their own health information giving a complete picture at the point of care. This will result in better health outcomes and reduced cost to the NHS, benefitting public finances.”

Evergreen Life asks users to consent to their data being shared in a de-identified way so that information from it can improve healthcare for all. Each user joins a community to share data freely with each other so that the best approaches to staying well can be shared with the data being owned by the patient and not an organisation.

It is the only wellbeing app to combine GP records with lifestyle, fitness, mental health and DNA information. The user is then left in control of who they let see the record and what they put in it.

Evergreen Life is adding 5,000 users a week nationally and it’s fast approaching 750,000 users, with nearly half a million connecting to their GPs for prescriptions, appointments and other activity. This means that 99.5% of GPs are now linked up.

Mr Critchlow adds: “If the NHS did sell data to US companies to develop patented drugs, those drugs are very likely to be sold back to the NHS at prices which bring into question the value of selling the data in the first place. In short it’s a short term financial fix which would, in the longer term undermine the value to the NHS of the sales price of any data it was able to sell.”

But it would also facilitate an increasingly outdated approach to developing and patenting drugs which some are suggesting doesn’t necessarily address the fundamental and wholistic issues around wellness.

More information / to interview social entrepreneur and ex-NHS pharmacist Stephen Critchlow, contact Andrew Spinoza 07711 718114 / Iain Macauley 07788 978800.