UCL Institute of Health Informatics


NIHR publishes case study: how CALIBER research has influenced policy to improve patient care

27 June 2022

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has published a detailed case study on their Making a difference webpage highlighting how CALIBER research has influenced national policy for coronary heart disease (CHD). Published May 2022.

A doctor with a stethoscope and white scrubs on holds a phone - only hands and torso shown

CHD is the main cause of preventable, premature mortality in the world however there are unacceptable variations in prevention, investigation and treatment within and between healthcare systems.  Professor Harry Hemingway and his team at UCL, Queen Mary University of London and Barts NHS Trust were awarded a £2M NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research in a major study to evaluate new opportunities arising from linked electronic health records (EHR) for improving quality of care and outcomes for patients at risk of, or with, coronary disease across the patient journey.

Over five years, the research team developed a novel research platform called CALIBER based on linked EHR data in nearly two million adults. The team carried out 33 complementary studies which showed that despite national guidance, key opportunities for investigation and treatment were missed across the patient journey, resulting in a worse prognosis for patients in the UK compared with patients in health systems in other countries.  The team made recommendations which were included in the 2016 NICE guideline on assessing and diagnosing recent chest pain (CG95), and Public Health England and American Heart Association guidance on the management of people with high blood pressure, among others. More recently, the CALIBER platform has been used to support crucial research into COVID-19 including estimating extra deaths that would occur from COVID-19 among extremely vulnerable people with multiple underlying health conditions which informed the government’s decision to enforce the UK lockdown in March 2020.

Today, CALIBER is used by researchers across the UK and internationally to investigate a wide range of common and rare diseases and has contributed hundreds of phenotypes to the Heath Data Research UK Phenotype Library, an open source Portal of phenotyping algorithms for the research community.  For more information, visit the CALIBER website.



“The CALIBER programme demonstrates that NHS data collected over time in primary care holds an important key to unlocking new insights for public health action”.

Professor Harry Hemingway, lead researcher on the CALIBER study.


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