Health Informatics Collaborative

Our Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) has been set up to deliver high quality data in five key therapeutic areas: 

  • acute coronary syndromes
  • ovarian cancer
  • hepatitis
  • renal transplantation
  • and intensive care.

The areas reflect emerging health priorities as well as the scientific expertise of five of the largest university hospital trusts participating in the Collaborative, each of which hosts a large NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in partnership with their academic institution as follows:

  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and University of Oxford
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University of Cambridge

  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King's College, London

  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College, London

  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University College, London.

The five trusts, together with their partner organisations and associated networks, serve a population of 20 million people, providing the numbers needed for service improvement and translational research for patient benefit.

Five projects, one for each therapeutic area, will demonstrate the value of the Collaborative for patients, clinicians and researchers. The success of the programme to date has led to the inclusion of more therapeutic areas. Data is now being collected for patients with prostate, breast, colorectal, and lung cancer.   Data is also being collected on a wider range of infectious diseases.

Industry engagement

The availability of high quality, relevant clinical data, collected to comparable standards across a network of leading hospitals, creates new opportunities for engagement with the life sciences industry. Prospective research partners will be able to work with collaborators to determine the feasibility of specific studies, in each therapeutic area, across the combined populations.

Where a study is feasible and ethical approval has been obtained, the ability to form cohorts rapidly across multiple institutions and to draw some or even all of the clinical data required from existing information systems, will greatly reduce the cost of execution.

Improving electronic patient records

Electronic patient records hold detailed information about circumstances, diagnosis, and treatment.

This information is needed by healthcare professionals for the delivery and continuity of care; by administrators for audit, planning and service improvement; and by researchers for the translation of scientific progress into patient benefit.

By improving the quality and availability of electronic patient records, the NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative can improve patient outcomes, reduce the costs of care and accelerate health research.

Establishing comparability

Information is captured in different settings and held in different representations. To draw conclusions from the data, we need to know that we are comparing like with like. By creating models that describe settings and representations, we can check that data can be sensibly compared and what transformations, if any, are needed before it can be used in combination. The Collaborative is working on creating models of clinical data and patient pathways.

Interoperability

Information is held in many different IT systems, which need to work together to provide a longitudinal record of treatment, diagnosis, and outcomes for each patient. The Collaborative is working to establish automatic data feeds from operational systems to clinical data repositories, complete with the models and metadata needed to identify settings and representations.