Nick Fahy - Health Policy and Systems Challenges

Dr Nick Fahy of the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences considers how health policy and systems can support innovation in personalised medicine. He was speaking at the first of a series of workshops and seminars on personalised medicine at St Anne's College, Oxford, on 21 March 2019, jointly organised by the CPM and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre's Partnerships for Health, Wealth and Innovation Theme. The event aimed to identify major social challenges around personalised medicine – developing new knowledge, tools and solutions.


Nick Fahy is a researcher and consultant in health policy and systems, looking at how health systems work; what we can learn by comparing health systems across countries; and how to bring about constructive change in health systems. 

His background is in international health policy, including over a decade in the European Commission, most recently as head of unit for health information – a short title for a unit which covered a lot of topics, including generating and mobilising information, data and knowledge for European health policy; leading European policy on major, rare and non-communicable diseases; and some other issues such as e-health. This currently leads him to work on the health impact of Brexit, as well as wider health policy.

Nick's experience in policy led him to focus on the question of how we can get knowledge into policy and practice in health systems. Despite extensive efforts to generate evidence for better healthcare, gaps in using it in policy and practice remain both significant and stubbornly persistent. Through his research he aims to better understand why this is. Nick is particularly interested in the behavioural science dimension of change and is a Chartered Psychologist, as well as drawing on his professional experience to explore how to get evidence into policy and practice. He is working to put this into practice as co-lead of the Partnerships for Health, Wealth and Innovation Theme of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)'s Oxford Biomedical Research Centre. He is also an expert advisor for the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, in particular regarding innovation and implementation, and a research fellow of Green Templeton College.