UCL Institute of Health Informatics


New UCLH service to streamline access to data for research launched

27 June 2022

UCLH has launched a new service to make it easier for researchers to access data for research.

Hospital researcher in green scrubs looks at three screens of medical data

The Data Access Process for Research (DAP-R) service removes the need for researchers to apply for HRA approval for internally run research that uses anonymous, routinely-collected data.

It means researchers can be offered a streamlined service when applying to work with this data, with decisions being made by a group made up of UCLH staff and patient representatives.

Enabling use of data in research is a key part of UCLH’s strategy as a research hospital. UCLH produces vast quantities of data in the course of everyday patient care, and the aim is to harness this information in research to improve patient care.

Historically the process for accessing hospital data has been complex. Researchers have needed HRA approval for data access, and sometimes studies have had to make repeated applications for HRA approval.

DAP-R makes the process of accessing data simpler, as it is an HRA-devolved ethical approvals service for research that is run within UCLH. It means UCLH can approve studies using anonymous, routinely-collected data, and it removes the need for repeat approvals applications.

A Data Trust Committee, made up of staff and patient representatives, will be responsible for decisions and will have oversight of data-related research in general.

The result of two years’ work, DAP-R was developed by the Clinical Research Informatics Unit (CRIU) in collaboration with the UCL/UCLH Joint Research Office and UCLH Information Governance teams.

UCLH consultant and Chief Research Information Officer Dr Wai Keong Wong, who led development of the service, said: “DAP-R will streamline research involving data at UCLH. It will make it easier and simpler for researchers to access data, and will mean that innovations in patient care through data-based research can be developed more quickly."

“An important part of the governance around this process is our new Data Trust Committee, which has representation from the public and our patients.”

DAP-R is available to researchers within both UCLH and UCL. If DAP-R approval is granted then a separate IRAS application to the HRA/REC for ethical approval will not be required.

To use DAP-R, please begin by creating a request on UCLH Data Explorer (DEX): https://uclvlddpragae06:8443/. (NB Access is currently only possible within the UCLH network, using Trust logins.)

A series of online events will showcase DAP-R to researchers. 

Research Data Concierge Service 

The team behind DAP-R has also recently launched a Research Data Concierge Service                                                                                                                                                  

The Data Concierge works within the CRIU to provide a single point of contact for the delivery of data for research at UCLH.

The key aims of the service are: 

  • To provide a consistent and transparent service to all researchers who intend to use UCLH data
  • To enable communication and collaboration between researchers and teams that govern access to UCLH data

The Research Data Concierge Service works closely with the Joint Research Office, UCLH Information Governance, UCLH Information Services, and Research Data Systems team.

This service is open to anyone who wishes to use UCLH data for research purposes.

To contact the Data Concierge, please email uclh.research-dataconcierge@nhs.net.