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Routine data

How researchers use routine data

We work with major data providers Across the UK (such as Department of Health, Department for Education and NHS Digital) to develop and optimise ways to appropriately access and manage routine data to link to our trial data sets.

We have experience accessing data from England, Wales and Scotland for health, education and social care data. We also work directly with hospitals and health boards to extract patient records.

What is routine data?

What is routine data

Routine data are collected by hospitals, schools, police, government departments (and many more places) for the purposes of registration, transaction and record keeping to enable the delivery of that service.

For example, patient records are created to enable the clinician to record diagnoses, prescriptions, referrals and tests requested.

By pooling together this pre-existing available information (without all the extensive costs of having to gather that independently), there are valuable opportunities for researchers to notice patterns of outcomes, query data and reach conclusions about a wide range of health options.

Informing feasibility

We use routine data to help us decide how best to run large trials. Sometimes we don’t know how many people we can recruit to a trial or how best to identify them in the community.

Using routine data for study outcomes

We have a large number of studies on our portfolio where we are accessing routine data on a population to look out outcomes that have been recorded routinely as part of health, education or social care services.

Linking to routine data in our trials

Sometimes the outcome of interest needs more detail than what is recorded routinely. Many of our trials link to some routine data, for example many of our cancer trials access mortality data from NHS Digital, Office for National Statistics, Public Health Wales and the equivalent in Scotland.

Government publication

Cardiff University's evaluation of the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) specialist home visiting programme has been summarised in a methods paper published by the Scottish Government. This document describes the detailed methodological approach taken by the study team which is based on a natural experiment.

The study uses solely administrative data from a range of public sector sources. A parallel protocol has also been accepted for publication in a scientific journal.

Key publications

Routine data team

Dr Fiona Lugg-Widger

Dr Fiona Lugg-Widger

Research Fellow - Routine Data

Email
luggfv@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2068 7519
Professor Mike Robling

Professor Mike Robling

Director of Population Health Trials

Email
roblingmr@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2068 7177
Dr Rebecca Cannings-John

Dr Rebecca Cannings-John

Senior Research Fellow - Statistics

Welsh speaking
Email
canningsrl@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2068 7248
Professor Kerry Hood

Professor Kerry Hood

Director, Centre for Trials Research

Email
hoodk1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2068 7163
Gareth Watson

Gareth Watson

Head of Information Systems and Database Development

Email
watsongl@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44(0)29 2068 7107