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Posts tagged ‘health informatics’

A new informatics institute: who, what, why?

We’ve just launched our search for a Director to run our new UK Institute for Health and Biomedical Informatics Research. Rhoswyn Walker, our Head of Informatics Research, tells us about the new institute.
Graphic representing different types of data

Let’s start at the beginning… What is informatics?

There are many definitions but broadly, informatics is the use of maths, statistics and computer science to get answers from large, complex datasets. Datasets in health and biomedical research come from lots of different sources so the institute will work with biological, clinical, social and environmental data. Researchers will also use emerging forms of data like that from wearable technology. Read more

Q&A: research using patient data

(Image credit: Flickr/jfcherry)

(Image credit: Wikipedia/jfcherry)

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the huge benefits that could come from research using patient data, but what does that actually mean? How is the data used, and what’s in it for the patients? We asked Dr Janet Valentine, Head of Public Health and Ageing at the MRC.

What is research using patient data?

You might have heard it described as e-health, big data, health informatics or health record linkage. They all mean more or less the same thing: research using the information held in NHS health records captured every time we visit a doctor or go to hospital. By using these health records, researchers can help identify more effective treatments, monitor drug safety, assess services provided in the NHS and better understand the causes of diseases.

What types of patient data are used?

GP data, such as routine vaccinations, lifestyle information, and the types of illnesses we have had; hospital stays or A&E visits; prenatal data; information on issued prescriptions; results of scans and screens; and registries of diseases like cancer and heart disease. Read more