The Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research
The Centre for Improvement in Population Health through E-records Research (CIPHER)
A consortium of 10 UK Government and Charity Funders led by Medical Research Council (MRC)
Professor Ronan Lyons, Director (Swansea University)
Professor David Ford, Deputy Director (Swansea University)
The Farr Institute @ CIPHER http://www.farrinstitute.org/centre/CIPHER/34_About.html part of The Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research http://www.farrinstitute.org/
The Centre for Improvement in Population Health through E-records Research (CIPHER) is one of the four co-ordinating centres of the Farr Institute. It is a multinational research partnership between academia, the UK national health service (NHS) and industry, focussed on improving the lives of patients and the population through informatics.
CIPHER is coordinated from Swansea University and includes a considerable number of investigators from UK universities and others from Europe, North America and Australia.
CIPHER aims to harness existing strengths in health informatics research to address translational delays between knowledge discovery, intervention assessment and adoption, and population impact by:
CIPHER will add value by maximising the utility of available routine health-related data on the UK population, provide robust methods to link such data to UK cohorts, surveys and non-health administrative data, enhanced by collection of novel population level data on health status, behaviours and exposures.
Embedding cohorts, trials and survey data within this total population structure will enhance UK observational and interventional research capacity and efficiency, support policy decision making, and quantify the impact of investment in scientific research on population health and wellbeing.
Cross-national collaboration is designed to increase the scale, breadth and global impact of CIPHER research.
CIPHER undertakes research that covers both observational and interventional research across all disease areas with an emphasis on methodological innovation and development in e-records research, including public engagement.
There are a number of specific research programmes on injury, the built environment, substance use, mental health, infection and child health, as well as the traditional major chronic diseases. Child health improvement research is carried out in collaboration with the DECIPHer Public Health Research Centre of Excellence.
Adding value to cohorts is a particular focus within CIPHER and there is a number of funded studies involving ALSPAC, the Millenium Cohort Study, UK Biobank, and cohorts within the MRC UK Dementias Platform as well as total population anonymised e-cohorts, such as the Wales Electronic Cohort for Children.
Other research foci include the use of linked data in trials and the evaluation of natural experiments including both health and non-health-care interventions.
To find out more about the eHealth and Informatics Research at Swansea University, please visit www.healthinformatics.swansea.ac.uk
In addition to the cross UK collaborative work highlighted on the national pages, the aims of capacity building at CIPHER are seen as:
Currently, CIPHER offers an introductory and advanced course in the analysis of linked health data at Swansea University, in collaboration with the University of Western Australia. These courses are also incorporated into the MSc in Health Informatics, where they contribute to a health data pathway within the course.
In order to achieve aims 1 and 2, a number of technical, practical and skills-based short courses at undergraduate level are currently being developed. The first of these will be available from Spring 2014. These will provide the basis for a part-time degree framework and a potential undergraduate entry scheme. Masters level modules are also being planned, and opportunities for PhD studies will be developed.
Finally, it is recognised that the NHS faces enormous developmental needs as it embraces a culture of informatics driven improvement. In order to help fulfil these needs, a range of materials and short seminars are also being developed for NHS informatics and clinical staff.
In CIPHER we are committed to working collaboratively in Public Engagement and to involving consumers fully in all relevant stages of our work by:
Working together with the Consumer Panel, our next steps are:
Robust, proportionate governance solutions are required to underpin the trustworthy reuse of data for research.
CIPHER investigators have considerable experience in this field, having developed the governance infrastructure underpinning the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) system.
CIPHER aims to increase the scale and depth of data available for research across the UK by: