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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.
The NHS DigiTrials service can help your clinical trial progress more easily at every stage, using the data NHS Digital already collects from health and care settings across England.
How we can help
Our service can help your clinical trial use NHS Digital data efficiently, from planning through to delivery.
1. Setting up the trial
When planning your trial, when it's still being developed or is in set-up, our data can help you:
- find out whether there are enough potential patients to take part in a trial
- identify patients who could be interested
- see which geographical areas or research centres (for example hospitals or GP surgeries) might be most practical for your trial, because of the numbers of potential participants nearby
We know from our research that lots of patients are keen to take part in trials, both for the chance to try new treatments, and to help others. Our service can help you reach them, fast.
See how NHS Digital's data helped the ORION-4 trial, run by the University of Oxford, find participants efficiently.
2. During and after the trial
We can help you follow the participants taking part in your clinical trial, and link you with relevant data about them that we already collect from the NHS. This:
helps patients by reducing the number of follow up visits
reduces burden on the medical staff caring for them, as data is often collected as part of treatment, not just specifically for your trial
- enables longer term follow up to help assess the clinical safety and effectiveness of treatments, during and after the trial
- ensures patients are not lost from the trial because they have moved or lost touch
By linking patient cohorts to rich and detailed NHS data sets, we can efficiently identify which treatments work, or not - especially important during a pandemic.
A treatment for COVID-19
NHS Digitrials supplied the data for the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial. It discovered that the low dose-steroid treatment, dexamethasone, can cut the risk of death by a third for coronavirus patients on ventilators and by a fifth for those on oxygen.
Lifesaving coronavirus treatment
Data from NHS Digital used for the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial has helped researchers discover that an anti-inflammatory drug reduces the risk of death in patients with severe COVID-19.
Blog: How we're supporting COVID-19 convalescent plasma trials
NHS Blood and Transplant is investigating the effectiveness of treating coronavirus patients with plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19. Heather Pinches, Head of the Clinical Trials Service at NHS Digital, explains how we’re helping with this effort.
How to get data from NHS DigiTrials for your research
For access to clinical data on your cohort and other identifiable patient information, requests need to be made through the NHS Digital data application process, and be reviewed by the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD). The NHS DigiTrials team is here to help you through the data application process. Contact us to discuss your requirements.
If you are planning a clinical trial and want to assess the numbers and locations of potential participants for your clinical trial, fill in the feasibility request form.
All outputs (data) from the service are anonymous, provided as tables and do not need to go through the full data application approval process. We can also provide maps showing the locations and numbers of potential participants.
Make a feasibility request
Tell us more about your trial, patient recruitment targets and clinical inclusion and exclusion criteria, and the output groupings most useful to you.
Explore the NHS DigiTrials data sets alongside tools and resources for health research across the UK on the HDR UK gateway.
How NHS DigiTrials is run
We're funded by Health Data Research UK through the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
Our board decides what we do and oversees how we develop our services to benefit the public, researchers and the NHS. It's made up of representatives from:
- the four organisations jointly running NHS DigiTrials - University of Oxford Big Data Institute, IBM, Microsoft and NHS Digital
- a range of stakeholders that work with clinical trials, for example the National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network
- patient and public representatives
Minutes from the board meeting on 31 January 2020
Minutes from the board meeting on 28 February 2020.
Minutes from the board meeting on 17 March 2020.
Minutes from the board meeting on 21 April 2020.
Minutes from the board meeting on 22 May 2020.
Minutes from the board meeting on 23 June 2020
Minutes from the board meeting on 24 July 2020
Minutes from the board meeting on 22 September 2020
Minutes from the board meeting on 23 October 2020
Minutes from the board meeting on 24 November 2020
Minutes from the board meeting on 18 December 2020
Minutes from the board meeting on 26 January 2021
For more information on the NHS DigiTrials service, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03003035678.
If you are contacting us about an existing enquiry or application please include your NIC number when you contact us.