QResearch

Generating new knowledge
to improve patient care

QResearch is a large consolidated database derived from the pseudonymised health records of over 30 million patients.

The data currently come from approximately 1500 general practices using the EMIS clinical computer system.

The practices are spread throughout the UK and include data from patients who are currently registered with the practices as well as historical patients who may have died or left.

Historical records extend back to the early 1990's making it one of the largest and richest general practice databases in the world.

The aim

To develop and maintain a high quality database of general practice derived data linked to secondary care data for use in ethical medical research.

Special Features

  • The data extracted will contain no strong patient identifiers since the data are de-identified at source (see Ethics and confidentiality).
  • QResearch has continued ethical approval from the East Midlands - Derby Research Ethics Committee.
  • The database will be open to academic researchers with ethical committee approval.
  • The researchers will be provided with anonymised patient level data that is required to answer their research question - not the whole dataset.
  • The costs of use of the data will be carefully controlled to allow the scheme to be self-funding but to allow good access to academic researchers.
  • Patients can opt out.
  • It contains socio-economic details of each patient's postcode.
  • Analyses are undertaken to demonstrate the accuracy and completeness of the data and are available for morbidity analyses.
  • Following review by the QResearch Advisory Board, Trent (now East Midlands - Derby) Research Ethics Committee and the Ethics and Confidentiality Committee of the National Information Governance Board, the entire database has been linked to cause of death data, cancer and hospital data at individual patient level with linkages extending back as far as 1993.
  • The linked data are only available at the University of Nottingham and the University of Nottingham is the sole data controller for individual datasets (i.e. death, cancer, hospital data) and for the resulting database including the linked datasets.