What is CPRD and how does it work?
The Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) is a Governmental, not-for-profit research service funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
CPRD contains the anonymised medical records of patients registered with contributing primary care practices across the UK for use in public health research. Researchers are also able to request linkages to additional non-primary care data sets through CPRD. Currently there are two separate databases, GOLD (data contributed from primary care practices using the Vision software system) and Aurum (data from EMIS software practices), available to researchers. The Multi-Study licence held on behalf of the University of Cambridge by the CPRD@Cambridge team enables researchers to access the records held in the GOLD database, covering approximately 7% of the UK population (≈5 million “live” patients).
Primary care data, recorded as part of routine clinical practice, is collected from the Vision practices’ clinical software on a monthly basis. Data is anonymised at practice level and uploaded to the CPRD servers for processing and validation. The data recorded includes patient demographics; practice region, collection information; consultations date, duration; clinical diagnoses, administrative details; electronic prescribing; immunisation details; referrals to secondary care and lab results. At the end of each month a ‘snapshot’ of the database called the monthly CPRD database build is compiled and made available to licence holders.
I’m interested in using CPRD data in my research, what do I do next?
There are two important things to consider if you are thinking about using CPRD data:
The earlier you contact the CPRD@Cambridge team with your questions, the better. CPRD guidance suggests that a project using CPRD data can take over 2 years to complete. We can conduct feasibility studies to determine the suitability of your research question, the potential sample size available and recommended applying for linkage if applicable.
The costs associated with accessing the data are determined by a number of factors including the affiliation of the Primary Investigator, the source of funding, the size of the dataset, any additional linkages that are required and the level of input (data management, statistical support) required from the CPRD@Cambridge team.
We can advise and guide you through the process of drafting and submitting your protocol to the Independent Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC)
See the CPRD@Cambridge pages for more details