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NHS Digital data to help find effective treatment for Covid-19

Data from NHS Digital is being used by researchers in the fight to find treatment for patients diagnosed with coronavirus.

Data from NHS Digital is being used by researchers in the fight to find treatment for patients diagnosed with coronavirus.

The Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial run by scientists at the University of Oxford is using data from NHS Digital’s Secondary Uses Service (SUS+) and other data sets, to help assess the effectiveness of a number of potential treatments for Covid-19.

By using data collected by NHS Digital, and where there is clear public benefit, we will help to minimise the burden on frontline NHS staff and enable rapid assessment of new treatments to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

In time, data from NHS Digital’s Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), as well as other data sources, will be used to help understand the overall effectiveness of the treatments, particularly in patients with underlying health conditions.

This work is part of a wider set of services being developed to support researchers undertaking clinical trials through the NHS DigiTrials Health Data Research hub.  The hub brings together experts, through a consortium involving NHS Digital, the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute, IBM and Microsoft, and supported by the Association of Medical Research Charities and the National Institute for Health Research, with relevant data to help support future clinical trials.

The hub aims to help NHS patients across England participate in clinical trials of new treatments with the ambition to see much larger numbers taking part in clinical research. The results of these trials will influence the day-to-day care of millions of future NHS patients with a wide range of conditions including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and arthritis.

Tom Denwood, Executive Director of Data, Insights and Statistics at NHS Digital, said: “The data we hold at NHS Digital has a vital role in helping the NHS find new ways to effectively treat and manage patients during the coronavirus epidemic.

“In supporting this trial we are enabling the healthcare system to make data-driven decisions on how best to care for people over the coming months.

“This will hopefully result in better outcomes for patients who have contracted coronavirus, as well as reducing the burden on our overstretched frontline.”

Martin Landray, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford added: “The RECOVERY trial has been designed to minimise the impact on hospital staff and to produce reliable evidence rapidly.

“NHS Digital will provide a single point of access to data from across England that we would otherwise have to gather from multiple sources.

“This will help to enhance the efficiency of the trial and enable us to provide much-needed answers about the most appropriate treatments for COVID-19.”


Notes for editors

  1. Nuffield Department of Population Health

    The Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH) is a world-leading research institute, based at the University of Oxford that investigates the causes and prevention of disease. NDPH has over 500 staff working in a number of world-renowned population health research groups, including the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU), the Cancer Epidemiology Unit (CEU), the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) and other groups working on non-communicable disease prevention, public health, health economics, ethics and health record linkage. It is also a key partner in the Oxford University Big Data Institute.

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Last edited: 22 April 2020 2:17 pm