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£4.3 million award puts health records at the heart of research

2 August 2012

E-health

A new e-health research Centre of Excellence led by UCL will be established in London following an award of £4.3 million.

Work here will combine electronic health records with other forms of research and data to unlock better healthcare, both for individuals and the wider population.

The Centre, one of four being established in the UK, is part of a £19 million investment by a consortium of 10 UK government and charity funders led by the Medical Research Council (MRC). The funding was announced today by the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts.

The London Centre is a partnership between UCL, UCL Partners, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London and the Health Protection Agency. It will be known as the Centre for Health service and Academic Partnership in Translational E-Health Research (CHAPTER) and will open later this year.

CHAPTER aims to harness the wealth of data found in UK electronic health records to improve patient care and public health. Along with the E-Health Research Initiative funding, UCL will commit a further £4 million to CHAPTER, providing six academic posts and associated costs.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “Thanks to the NHS and the UK’s world-leading research base, we are uniquely positioned to use patient data to study disease and develop better treatments. The e-health centres are the first of their kind and have the potential to revolutionise health research. They will provide a vital insight into conditions affecting millions of people and ultimately bring benefits for patients.”

The e-health centres are the first of their kind and have the potential to revolutionise health research.

David Willetts

The Centre’s Principal Investigator, Professor Harry Hemingway (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health), said: “We are delighted that our joint bid to establish CHAPTER has been successful. It gives us a brilliant opportunity to maximise the unique value of the NHS in terms of the rich patient data generated within our health system every day.”

The Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) UCL Partners (UCLP) is at the heart of the CHAPTER Centre, integrating multiple areas of critical mass across the partner academic institutions of UCL, LSHTM and QMUL for the first time – working with the HPA. This includes more than 60 data sources and over 30 research groups with informatics expertise. At UCL, research expertise will be drawn from the Faculties of Engineering and Population Health Sciences, and across the wide spectrum of biomedical activities based here.

Professor Hemingway added: “Our work will focus initially on using data from health records to make improvements in cardiovascular medicine, maternal and child health, and infection. We will establish a new informatics platform to ensure that data collected in different clinical systems can be securely and meaningfully integrated in research. We aim to make improvements in the quality of data collected and develop tools to help clinicians in decision-making. We will also build on existing training strengths to establish a new doctoral training programme, taught courses and leadership development programmes, alongside innovative public engagement programmes.”

The members of the E-Health Research Initiative who have jointly-funded the four Centres are: Arthritis Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Chief Scientist Office (Scottish Government Health Directorates), the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (Welsh Government) and the Wellcome Trust.


Links:

CHAPTER
MRC
UCL Partners
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Queen Mary, University of London
Health Protection Agency