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Information for Patients and the Public

The Clinical Record Interactive Search system, known as CRIS, is a computer system that allows researchers to carry out research using information from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s (the Trust) clinical records. 

CRIS is safe and secure. It does not reveal service users’ personal details to Trust researchers. 

CRIS makes a real and positive difference to future mental health treatments and care. Our aim is to put research at the core of everything we do, so we can continually improve our clinical care.

Watch: what CRIS is used for and how it works.


CRIS Information Leaflet 

Read the latest CRIS information leaflet or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) CRIS leaflet. For a print copy, please email: cris.administrator@slam.nhs.uk.  


CRIS helps us to look at real life situations on a large scale. This means it’s easier to see patterns and trends – for example, what works for some patients and doesn’t for others. Information from CRIS is used for research projects, service evaluations and Trust audit and quality improvement projects.  

To search all projects approved to access CRIS data by the CRIS Oversight Committee, visit our CRIS Projects page 

To find out more about some of the work underway using CRIS, read our CRIS Blog, or visit our CRIS Publications page to see a list of all publications that have resulted from projects using CRIS data.

Watch interviews with some of our team showing how CRIS has been used in research, on our Video page.

For more information about how and why health data is used in research, please visit Understanding Patient Data and use MY data.

We are keen to share information about CRIS with service users, carers, staff and the general public.

CRIS Drop In

If you would like to find out more about CRIS, we run regular Drop In events at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at Denmark Hill where you can meet the CRIS team and ask any questions.  

The next date will be Wednesday 31 July 2024, 09.00-12.00 in Room M.304, on the 3rd floor of the IoPPN Main Building, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Denmark Hill Campus, 16 De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AB. 

Please contact us if you are interested in attending at cris.administrator@slam.nhs.uk 

CRIS Academic Sessions

We hold regular academic sessions where CRIS users, Trust staff, service users, and the general public can hear about work being done using CRIS. These are hybrid sessions which are held once a month on the 2nd Wednesday at 10am. Please contact cris.administrator@slam.nhs.uk for more information 

CRIS Newsletter

For the latest news and updates from the CRIS team, subscribe to our email newsletter.


Researchers may link information from CRIS with other information sources, this is called a data linkage.  

This helps to improve physical and mental health. 

For example 

  • information about patients who had both a mental health condition and cancer was linked to look at the impact of mental illness on cancer survival rates. 
  • we have created a linkage with local GP records to help us learn how to improve the physical health of patients. 

Using data linkages, researchers have explored: 

  • How physical health conditions and medications affect people with Alzheimer’s disease 
  • If pregnant women can continue to take mental health medications 
  • How mental health conditions in children and teenagers affect their school performance 

For more information on our data linkages, including an animation describing what data linkage is, please visit CRIS Data Linkages page 

There are several Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Groups who provide advice and feedback relating to CRIS projects, please see the details below and email the contacts if you are interested in joining one of the groups.


Katherine BarrettI love being a member of the Data Linkage Service User and Carer Advisory Group because the presentations are always so interesting and diverse.  I think the researchers really value our feedback and sometimes change their proposal on the basis of what we have said.  It's great that the CRIS Team run this group for researchers, who often have to have PPI in their research.  I look forward to the meetings and hope what I contribute is valuable to the presenters.  I also like the other members of the group and listen carefully to what they have to say.  You learn so much in this group both from the group members and the presenters.

Katherine Barrett, member of the Data Linkage Service User and Carer Advisory Group


Watch a short video with Roger, a member of one of our service user advisory groups, talking about CRIS: 


Data Linkage Service User and Carer Advisory Group (DL-SUCAG)

The group is a regular meeting of people with lived experience of mental illness, all of whom have an interest in mental health research involving data linkage. 

The group meets on a quarterly basis and researchers are invited to present their project, where they will receive feedback and advice from the group. If you are interested in becoming a member of the group and would like some further information, please contact:

Amelia Jewell, DL-SUCAG Chair - amelia.jewell@slam.nhs.uk 


Clinical Informatics Service (CIS) Advisory Group

The Clinical Informatics Service (CIS) explores how we can work with the information that health services collect in patient electronic health records to improve patient care and make healthcare systems more effective. Patient healthcare records contain a huge amount of data which need to be managed and organised in order for clinicians to do their jobs effectively.

The CIS uses algorithms that combine information entered in different parts of patients’ health care records to help clinicians find what they need to know more quickly. We use an artificial intelligence (AI) method called Natural Language Processing (NLP) to extract important information from text in healthcare records in a way that is much quicker and easier than manually searching thousands of records. NLP can be used to extract information on both patient care (e.g., medications and treatment plans) and social determinants of health (e.g., occupation and housing).

The CIS uses this information to create graphical representations of patient healthcare records (i.e., visual elements such as charts, graphs and maps) which help clinicians to make decisions about patient care and ensure that more people are receiving the right support for their mental and physical health needs. We can look at information for groups of patients as well as individuals, helping us understand whether our services are working equitably and effectively.  

The information extracted using NLP can also be anonymised and then used in research studies to identify trends and patterns in large patient populations. This can help researchers and clinicians make decisions about public health. The Advisory Group is essential to the development of the CIS and NLP-based research studies to better understand the individual experiences and social circumstances of service users.

If you would like more information about the CIS Advisory Group or if you are interested in becoming a member of the group, please contact Zoe Chui (zoe.chui@slam.nhs.uk).


CRIS for Dementia Service User & Carer Advisory Group (C4D-SUCAG)

The group ensures that dementia research conducted using CRIS is led by the concerns identified by people with dementia and their families, and that the service user viewpoint is considered throughout the research project.

The group:

  • Acts as a point of contact for researchers looking for service user/carer advice on dementia
  • Identifies research priorities for dementia research in CRIS.
  • Builds meaningful and joint relationships between researchers and service users/carers
  • Promotes the service user/carer perspective in dementia research using CRIS. 

For more information or if you are interested in joining the group, please email:

Dr Christoph Mueller, C4D-SUCAG Chair & Senior Clinical Lecturer - christoph.mueller@kcl.ac.uk

Sharon Sondh, Deputy C4D-SUCAG Chair & Research Assistant - sharon.sondh@kcl.ac.uk

A Data Controller is the individual or organisation who controls and is responsible for how data is kept and used. South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) is the Data Controller for CRIS. The Trust has a Privacy Notice which describes how data is kept and used in the organisation and your legal rights with regards to your data. 

Access to CRIS data is aligned with the 5 Safes:

  1. Safe Data – CRIS data is de-identified, this means that all patient identifiable information (PII) is removed from CRIS data repositories entirely, including references in text and structured fields, or sufficiently truncated/ modified to protect confidentiality, for example:
    • Date of birth is truncated to month and year of birth only
    • Ethnic category is collapsed into the NHS standard 16+1 categories 
    • Postcode is modified to Lower Super Output Area
  2. Safe Research – The patient-led CRIS Oversight Committee is responsible for overseeing and monitoring the use of CRIS, including managing the CRIS application process. All projects proposing to use CRIS are required to submit a written application to the committee. The CRIS Oversight Committee is accountable to the Trust Caldicott Committee. 
  3. Safe People – Individual users named in approved CRIS projects require a contract (honorary or substantive) with the Trust. This ensures users are contractually obliged to adhere to relevant Trust policies regarding confidentiality and data protection. All CRIS users are required to show up-to-date Information Governance training at the point of project approval. 
  4. Safe Settings  Use of CRIS is governed by the CRIS Security Model which is managed by a patient-led Oversight Committee who approve all applications to use the data.  By default, all CRIS patient level data must remain within the Trust firewall at all times. This ensures these data are subject to the same rigorous security standards (technical and policy) applied to other patient level data by the Trust.
  5. Safe Outputs – Only aggregated data may be taken out of the Trust firewall for publication purposes. The CRIS Oversight Committee will judge CRIS applications according to their risk of inadvertent deanonymisation, for example, the likelihood of particularly small cohort / cell sizes (< 10 cases) or the appearance of high profile publicly known / published information. In these cases additional measures will be put in place to safeguard confidentiality.

You have the right to opt out of your data being included in CRIS. This will not impact the care you receive in any way.  

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you would rather not have your records in CRIS and/or linked with external datasets, please speak with your mental health worker, or contact the CRIS Administrator at: 

Centre for Translational Informatics
3rd Floor
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
King's College London
16 De Crespigny Park
Denmark Hill

Email: cris.administrator@slam.nhs.uk