Five research projects have been selected by the Health Foundation as part of its £1.6 million open call for research that advances the development and use of data from national clinical audits and patient registries as a mechanism for improving health care quality in the UK.

The rich information held in national clinical audits and registries can be used to inform improvements in health care quality. However, national audits and registries are yet to realise their full potential in the UK and we hope these projects will help to unlock some of this potential.

Researchers submitted ideas for research that advances the development and use of data from national clinical audits and patient registries as a mechanism for improving health care quality in the UK.

The research is designed to:

  • broaden the involvement of patients in the design and collection of clinical audit and registry data, specifically the collection and use of patient reported outcomes
  • demonstrate the value of linking clinical audit and registry data to other data, to improve the value of health care
  • explore how variation in metrics of clinical quality and outlier identification can be used to determine priorities for improvement.

Successful awards include an innovative 18-month project linking primary care and clinical audit data, and four large-scale awards which have the potential to support transformational change by using national clinical audit data in new ways.

Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics, said, ‘The health and care environment is becoming increasingly complex and challenging. We are very excited to work with these five research teams to explore and better understand how data in national clinical audits and patient registries can be used to improve health care quality.’   

The projects are:

1. Variation in patient pathways and hospital admissions for exacerbations of COPD: linking the National COPD Audit with CPRD data
Imperial College London

This research project will investigate how variations in clinical care and patient pathways affect hospital admissions for exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) across England.

2. LAUNCHES QI: Linking Audit and National datasets in Congenital Heart Services for Quality Improvement
University College London

This research project will link five national datasets to describe patient trajectories through secondary and tertiary care from birth to adulthood; identify metrics for driving quality improvement and informing commissioning; and explore variation across services to identify priorities, with the aim of improving services for congenital heart disease.

3. Developing and implementing machine learning driven analytics for quality improvement in health care
Kings College London

This research project will develop new tools to detect and interpret variation in stroke care quality and patient outcomes, and support better use of data for quality improvement in stroke care.

4. OPTimising routine collection of electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes into disease registries (OPT-ePRO)
University of Manchester

This project will examine how best to engage patients, clinicians and commissioners in routine collection of electronic patient-reported outcomes into disease registries, using the UKRR as an exemplar with the aim of enriching national audits and research through integration of patient-reported outcomes.

5. NED-APRIQOT - National Endoscopy Database: Automated Performance Reports to Improve Quality Outcomes Trial
Newcastle University

This project will use the National Endoscopy Database to identify unwarranted variation in endoscopy performance, and highlight what the optimal key performance indicators and minimum standards should be, with the aim of improving consistency in colonoscopy polyp detection in the UK, and so improving outcomes.