How is personal information protected?

CRIS is ultimately a software system that removes any information from electronic healthcare records that might identify the individual. It then produces a de-identified database that researchers can use for research. The computer removes or covers up personal information that could be used to identify individuals such as names, addresses or dates of birth.

This diagram demonstrates how a clinician will see a medical record and the different view that a researcher using CRIS will see.  


AWP has a strict process in place for allowing access to the CRIS database and anyone seeking access will be strictly monitored. All users permitted access will be approved researchers who have passed ethical clearance and their projects will have met the highest requirement standards and approval by AWP oversight committee. They will have provided appropriate evidence of relevant contracts and training. The NHS Research Ethics Committee will have passed independent approval on any projects and projects involving patients will be even more tightly controlled. 

AWP has a specific coordinator who oversees the day to day running of CRIS and all use if captured on an audit log to monitor the use of the system. All trusts in the CRIS network are part of a national governance group to ensure the safe running of the system.

CRIS is funded by the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research and is running in 14 NHS mental health trusts across the country and has passed the highest standards of ethical clearing by all of these institutions. 

CRIS was developed with extensive public and patient involvement and was overseen by a Research Database Oversight Committee which included patients and doctors. It has been deemed safe, secure and confidential source of information for research.

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