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