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Cohort management products

Our cohort management products are data sets used mostly in conjunction with other data sets for analysis of cohort-based studies, where groups of individuals are monitored over a long period of time.

The Data Access Request Service (DARS) offers a range of data sets, some providing stand-alone information that can be requested and analysed, some that are used mostly in conjunction with other data sets.

Organisations and researchers using NHS Digital data for analyses of cohort-based studies – where a group of individuals is identified and monitored, particularly in long-term studies – may be familiar with a service previously offered by DARS; the Medical Research Information Service or MRIS for short. MRIS was decommissioned in March 2020 and replaced by the Cohort Management Service (CMS).

The new service allows DARS users to submit their own data via DARS Online portal and SEFT server account and to provide a cohort of patients they wish to obtain additional data for. With the transition from MRIS to the CMS, we have introduced the Master Person Service (MPS), which uses a 4-stage algorithm to provide a single best result for each record.

There are three products that are available as part of the Cohort Management Service:

  • Cancer Registration Data
  • Civil Registration - Deaths
  • Demographics

Cancer Registration Data

The Cancer Registration data set contains records of cancer registrations, including the registration date and place, but also information about type of cancer or its site (recorded in ICD10 code). Records, starting from 1971, are provided to NHS Digital by Public Health England, to enable up-to-date data on cancer registrations in cohort data disseminations.


Civil Registration - Deaths

The Civil Registration of Deaths data set contains details of all registered deaths in England and Wales. Information, reaching as far back as the beginning of 1993, is collected from local registries and sent to the General Registry Office, then to the Office for National Statistics and, eventually, to NHS Digital. Deaths that are not formally registered, such as those for British citizens overseas, are not included in the dataset.

The dataset contains basic demographics of the deceased person, cause of death, records of other diagnoses, which may – or may not – have directly contributed to the death and information about registration itself. NHS Digital uses the death registration data to support the maintenance of accurate records within the Personal Demographics Service.


Demographics data set

Demographics data set is derived from the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) for secondary (non-clinical) uses such as research or planning of health services. It includes records of all patients registered with primary care in the NHS in England, Wales and Isle of Man in or after 2004, as well as patients who have utilised the NHS via secondary care in England (only) or patients who, since April 2015, have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge.

The data set includes such information as NHS Number, name, date and place of birth, gender, address and primary health care registrations.

The Demographics data set is used to provide information on cohort members’ current status (fact of death or exit from the NHS, for example) and to give demographic details such as current name and address.


Further information

internal Data Access Request Service (DARS)

The Data Access Request Service (DARS) can offer clinicians, researchers and commissioners the data required to help improve NHS services. We handle applications, process data and provide access to specific sets of data when requests are approved.

internal Data Access Request Service (DARS): process

A summary of the stages you'll need to navigate in your application for data. The DARS process consists of the following stages: Enquiry, Application, Approval, Access, Audit and Deletion of data.

internal NHS DigiTrials

NHS DigiTrials offers data services to support clinical trials. We help reduce the time, effort and cost of developing new drugs, treatments and services, bringing benefits to patients, the public and the NHS.

Last edited: 2 August 2021 12:45 pm