Date(s) - 14 Apr 2022
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


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Associate Professor Clare Bankhead, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

At every healthcare encounter in the UK, data are collected and stored in electronic healthcare records.  There is potential to link data from general practice records with hospital records (outpatients, accident and emergency and inpatient hospital stays) and with other sources, such as cancer and death registrations.  We have access to thousands of observations on millions of people, over decades of years.

This raises the opportunity to harness the power and granularity of these data for medical research and ultimately to improve clinical care and health outcomes.  Use of these resources have altered the scope, and the speed, of the epidemiology that may be conducted.  Novel analytics, including the application of artificial intelligence are increasing.  The combination of the availability of data and the techniques are rapidly advancing our knowledge.

However, the use of these data also presents some obstacles.  We must remember that this information is not collected for the purposes of medical research. It is not collected in a standardised way, is not available at regular time intervals, nor from everyone and is largely based on coded medical information.  Wrangling these records into an analysable form is a specialist task.

Furthermore, the Government’s initiative to introduce a daily download of our medical data (which is separate from the current research data available) may lead to increasing opt-outs.  Other considerations include the sheer volume of these data, leading to computational and statistical implications.

This talk will be illustrated with examples of the research conducted using routinely collected healthcare data, including studies of rare diseases, understanding disease risk factors, clinical prediction rules, and monitoring of drug and vaccine effectiveness and side effects.  Mention will also be made about how research findings have been used and integrated into clinical care.


Clare Bankhead is an Associate Professor in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford and a Fellow of Kellogg College She is a senior epidemiologist with a special interest in research design and statistics.   Her main research focuses are on the use of large routine databases and digital health in medical research.  Research areas include health service utilization, diagnosis and monitoring of chronic diseases, and cancer diagnosis.
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