NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative
What is the NIHR HIC?
The NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) is a partnership of 28 NHS trusts and health boards, including the 20 hosting NIHR Biomedical Research Centres, working together to facilitate the equitable re-use of NHS data for translational research. Its aim is to improve the quality and availability of routinely-collected clinical data, making it available for cross-centre collaborative research.
NIHR HIC Themes
In order to better focus its research efforts, the NIHR HIC is broken down into key therapeutic areas which are known as HIC Themes. Each Theme is led by a participating HIC organisation, which aims to combine similar patient data from each HIC centre taking part in the Theme.
The NIHR Imperial BRC team lead on the Cardiovascular Theme, the Infectious Diseases (Sepsis) Theme and the Lung Cancer Theme. The Cardiovascular Theme is the most advanced of the three, as it was one of the initial five clinical Themes established by the HIC. The first Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) research dataset created as part of the Cardiovascular Theme contains data from five different NHS organisations. It includes extensive data on patients who had a troponin test ordered.
As of June 2021, twenty-four separate research projects have been approved which are accessing the ACS research database. Leading to High Impact publications in the BMJ and Lancet.
In March 2020, the decision was made to expand the Cardiovascular Theme to the HIC Cardiovascular/COVID-19 Theme. Incorporating the COVID-19 research work into a previously established HIC Theme would allow the HIC to utilise already existing infrastructure and expertise, and therefore deliver research outputs much more quickly. As of June 2021, ten participating HIC organisations have submitted patient data to the COVID-19 research database, as part of the wider Cardiovascular/COVID-19 Theme. This database is being used to answer pressing research questions relating to the care of COVID-19 patients within the NHS, as well as the wider impact of the pandemic on the Health Service.
As of June 2021, ten separate research projects have been approved by the combined scientific steering group and are accessing the HIC COVID-19 research database.
The Cardiovascular HIC Theme has led to multiple high-impact research studies being published, including publications in the Lancet Journal and British Medical Journal. A full list of all HIC outputs can be found on the HIC website publication page.