The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has hired informatics specialist Daniel Ray as director of data science in the organisation's Centre of Excellence for big data and data science.
HSCIC revealed last month that it was setting up the centre with the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office. The idea was initiated under the government's Data Science Programme, which was set up in 2014 to help Downing Street make better use of data science in policy-making and service delivery.
It is unclear how the centre will run or how it fits in with HSCIC's overall strategy.
Ray has worked in the NHS for 17 years, during which time he has led informatics teams in all sectors of healthcare and completed a number of international healthcare data projects.
His most recent role was director of informatics at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, where he co-founded the university's Quality and Outcomes Research Unit.
Ray will join HSCIC on 14 March and said he was "very excited" about his new role, which will involve "further unlocking national health data sets to help underpin evidence-based policy making" and creating "an enabling secure environment to catapult world-class research on the unique data in the NHS".
Professor Martin Severs, HSCIC lead clinician and interim director of information and analytics, explained that Ray brings "knowledge and perspective of three key ares that support high-quality patient care: the NHS, the independent sector, and academia".
"His digital transformation work at University Hospital Birmingham is well known, while his appointment as a professor with the Farr Institute is testament to the regard in which he is held in the world of big data," he added.
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