The Section of clinical medicine and ageing is home to the Surrey cohort. This is a repository holding computerised health data from 9 practices in Surrey, and links to anonymised patient data for the Surrey population. Its purpose is to support a better understanding of our community’s health, research and quality improvement programmes. Once implemented, it should facilitate ethical data access, and facilitate research at the University of Surrey.
The research will be carried out by the Section of Clinical Medicine and Ageing at the University of Surrey, in collaboration with:
- Surrey Health Partners (SHP) Primary Care Clinical Academic Group (CAG), Diabetes Clinical Academic Group (CAG), Cancer Clinical Academic Group (CAG),
- Royal Surrey County Hospital, and other SHP hospital trusts.
- Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioners Group (CCG).
The aim of the Surrey cohort is to increase the quality and quantity of research output from Surrey Health Partners Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs); in particular recruitment to clinical trials and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio studies. The group also work very closely with Kent, Surrey and Sussex Clinical Research Network (KSS CRN).
- To conduct epidemiological research based on the data held within the Surrey Cohort database. The data will be contribute to the RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre database for monitoring of influenza and other diseases.
- To use the Surrey Cohort database to design studies. Anonymised data can be used to calculate sample size and power calculations, and help set realistic inclusion and exclusion criteria.
- To recruit to trials and other studies. Eligible subjects will be identified within the database, then these subjects with the permission of the practice (if they decide to take part in the study) will re-identify the patients within the practice and send out letters of invitation. This will be carried out in close collaboration with the NIHR Comprehensive Research Network (CRN).
- To be the vehicle for quality improvement initiatives (e.g. Predictive models to look at the risk of falls) in the community;
What is the design of the Surrey cohort?
9 practices in Surrey have joined the Surrey Cohort. Currently these practices provide data which are stored and managed by the Section of Clinical Medicine and Ageing. These practices are research active and happy to be approached to recruit patients or to undertake any other research activities (depending on capacity and funding available). Using the Surrey Cohort is beneficial as it offers an accelerated study recruitment through simplified and efficient case finding and ease of recruiting as database searches by practice staff are not required, which reduces their workload.
The standard process is as it follows:
- the feasibility of any study can be assessed before practices are contacted by exploring their data and identifying number of eligible patients per practice.
- if it is decided that a study is feasible to run through the Surrey Cohort, then practices are contacted and invited to take part
- once a practice confirms participation, the list of eligible patients is sent to the practice so that they can be re-identified and invited to participate
Data collection: The method and governance utilises technologies developed by the University of Surrey for the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) and Public Health England (PHE), using an approved provider, Apollo Medical Software Solutions Ltd. Apollo extracts data using the Apollo automated extraction system. The system is compliant with best practices. These arrangements may change from time-to-time and we will notify members if any changes occur.
Patient confidentiality: Data extractions will be conducted in accordance with the Research Group’s standard operating procedures in data extraction, pseudonymisation, and transfer. All data are stored and managed by the University of Surrey. The information security policies and procedures of the Research Group have been approved by the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).