Discover is a new health research platform that provides researchers with access to an extensive database and to potential research participants in North West London.

Discover has been set up by Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP), a partnership organisation bringing together NHS providers of healthcare services, clinical commissioning groups and leading universities across North West London (NWL).

Discover has access to a powerful linked longitudinal dataset from over 2.2 million people living in NWL and has combined this with a proactive initiative to register people with an interest in taking part in research.

One year on

Launched just over a year ago, Discover has approved 15 NHS-led retrospective data studies, covering conditions such as liver disease, ulcerative colitis, breast cancer treatment, mental illness, cystic fibrosis and atrial fibrillation.

These studies have been carried out in collaboration with pharmaceutical, MedTech and digital partners.  Working with the Discover team has enabled the researchers to track important aspects of NHS care such as health resource utilisation, treatment pathways and drug usage.

Discover services can also promote real world evidence and prospective recruitment studies for clinical trials by registering people who have consented to be contacted for future research and linking this interest with the medical record.

To date, over 3000 people in North West London have registered an interest in taking part in future health research opportunities through Discover and this is now growing at 2000 per month which is being achieved through face to face recruitment as well as promotion through primary care and community events.

Discover is available to commercial researchers working with an academic or NHS partner.

Powerful and unique dataset

 The data used by Discover comes from NWL Whole Systems Integrated Care (WISC) database, which is a unique dataset that includes linked, coded data from primary, secondary, mental health, community and social care for over 2.2 million people and 362 GP practices in North West London.

Drawing insights from large amounts of anonymised health data is vital for improving healthcare services and treating and eradicating diseases. The WISC database is unique in that it can be used to track relevant individual patient journeys, providing holistic insight into how a complete pathway is working and where there may be gaps and opportunities in care.

Discover also offers researchers the opportunity to check whether the dataset will suit their research needs through a feasibility dashboard, as well as providing support for research publication.

“Discover represents an exciting NWL development – ICHP is focused upon the promotion of the longitudinal WSIC data that has been developed by our sector and fed by data from over 400 providers for research purposes. We are looking to make research available to those living in NWL and provide them with a choice about being involved and contacted for future research opportunities. Ultimately we are aiming to bring new research revenue into NWL to re-invest in NHS services in NWL through the Discover health research platform.”

Amanda Lucas, Programme Director with ICHP 

Recruiting research participants

With close connections to academics and clinicians, Discover has identified a need for more targeted access to research participants.

Discover aims to bring the public and researchers together. It is a register of any adults (18 and over) living in North West London who are interested in health research and want to find out more about health research opportunities.

It aims to improve how researchers can recruit to studies and to offer a ‘one stop shop’ for research recruitment. In this way researchers can run both prospective and retrospective studies to generate real world evidence to support healthcare innovation.

Collaboration

The Discover team, based in Euston, take a collaborative approach and is keen to build strategic and supportive working relationships, helping bring in key NHS-organisations and providing data analysis services. For those researchers who don’t have a local academic or NHS partner, Discover can help facilitate those relationships through working closely with member organisations, including the NIHR, local hospital Trusts and universities.

Amanda Lucas, Programme Director with ICHP and responsible for Discover said:

“Discover represents an exciting NWL development – ICHP is focused upon the promotion of the longitudinal WSIC data that has been developed by our sector and fed by data from over 400 providers for research purposes. We are looking to make research available to those living in NWL and provide them with a choice about being involved and contacted for future research opportunities. Ultimately we are aiming to bring new research revenue into NWL to re-invest in NHS services in NWL through the Discover health research platform.”

Going forward, Discover is in the process of convening patients, charities, companies and NHS commissioners and service providers to help identify priority areas for research where there is potential for innovation in treatment.

For more information on Discover https://www.registerfordiscover.org.uk/#  or contact researchers@registerfordiscover.org.uk