CRIS can be used to search for relevant patient records based not only on structured data (such as completed diagnosis or medication fields) but also unstructured data, meaning it can search progress notes and locate relevant terms. This can lead to the identification of case records that may be missed when using other methods of searching. This also means that CRIS is useful for research feasibility – it can help identify how many patients there are with a certain diagnosis before embarking on the research.
The data are depersonalised or pseudo-personalised which means the researchers who access the information cannot identify personal information but the data have codes allowing others (usually those responsible for the individual's care) to re-identify the individual.
The data is then stored securely, ready for analysis in a searchable repository.
CRIS has been previously used by researchers to answer questions such as:
- Is there a test for those with Alzheimer's disease that can show if drugs would be the best treatment?
- Do some drugs for schizophrenia affect physical health, for example diabetes?
- Do people's home living arrangements affect how long they spend as inpatients, receiving care in hospital wards?
- Who benefits, and who does not, from taking particular medicines or receiving particular psychotherapies?
There are now in excess of 96 publications that have used CRIS for their research. See here for recent publications from SLaM researchers
Summary of access process
Researchers, Clinicians and Audit Team members wishing to use CRIS need to apply via the CRIS Coordinator before being able to carry out analysis.
The process will usually go as follows:
- Discuss the research question with the CRIS coordinator who will guide the researcher in terms of feasibility
- Apply for approval to use CRIS through the Oversight Group
- Apply for ethical review if the research requires identification of patients (this will be available when the consent for contact process has been rolled out in the Trust)
- If the CRIS use is approved by the Oversight Committee the researcher will be set up as a CRIS user.
- Data searching can be conducted, alongside the CRIS coordinator.
To apply for a CRIS project or for more information please contact the CRIS administrator Lara Skinner firstname.lastname@example.org