Connecting from primary to secondary care: the data experience


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Tjeerd van Staa

General Practice Research Database, UK

Abstract

The IT systems, from which the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) obtains its data, was set up over 20 years ago with the use of data for research as an equal focus to the use of data to aid everyday clinical care. This aspect taken together with the extensive quality control of data and many coding and data entry validation studies means that the GPRD is now the most used and published detailed longitudinal health record dataset (hundreds of research projects each year).

More recently record linkage of other NHS data to GPRD data has been enabled. This linkage provides additional avenues for research and in particular enables research along the care pathway when patients journey between primary, secondary and back to primary care. Current linkages include hospitalisations (HES), census data, mortality data, myocardial infarctions (MINAP) and most recently cancer data. The linkage also provides additional opportunities for data validation but at the same time presents some challenging aspects in transforming the data prior to statistical analysis.