Using patient data to understand service use and improve care during the COVID-19 pandemic



The COVID-19 pandemic and the national response has had an inevitable impact on NHS Trusts and the people they serve across the country.

CRIS-COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative is a project led by Robert Stewart and Matthew Broadbent from the Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) team. They have created a data resource which provides both clinicians and researchers short- and long-term monitoring of clinical outcomes and changes to service use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of the project is to collect relevant, real-time data which can be used to improve the healthcare received by service users of both South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and fellow Mental Health Trusts.

Achievements so far

The project has shared six pre-print publications available online which share important data on topics including groups at risk, causes of death and service use.

SLaM have set up a Quality Centre team that meets frequently to consider new findings and data needs, and to ensure that these are coordinated across the Trust.

There have been a number of meetings with colleagues from Public Health England and NHS England to discuss national implications, given the scarcity of data in this field.

SLaM have partnered with 10 other mental healthcare providers in the UK to produce nationwide confirmation of many of the trends detected in SLaM. This has not only provided information of direct and short-term relevance during the crisis, but also demonstrates what integrated clinical informatics platforms can achieve, a field where King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust already have international leadership.

Involving SLaM leaders

By creating a collaborative network with key SLaM leaders, week-by-week flexible priorities can be discussed without placing extra burden on decision-makers which feed into clinical decision making and service planning.

These priorities can range from service metrics to symptom profiles and most effective crisis management – in recent weeks the project provided early detection of potential relapses of bipolar disorder presenting to emergency services, and more recently have been able to describe for the first time the different causes of SLaM’s excess deaths during the pandemic’s first wave.

Understanding data in real-time

The project focuses on analysing data collected in real-time allowing the sharing of only the most up to date information.

CRIS-COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative’s team are also working with the four Acute Trusts within SLaM’s catchment to gather A&E attendance and hospital admission data for SLaM patients. This means SLaM can profile wider service use on a monthly basis, as well as understand levels of intensive care use.

CRIS-COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative are also tracking mortality rates as SLaM link data to the NHS spine, as well as pooling data from all practices in Lambeth via Lambeth DataNet to further quantify service activity.


Collaborators in this project include project leaders Robert Stewart and Matthew Broadbent, Fiona Gaughran, Richard Dobson, Mark Ashworth and Matthew Hotopf. It has been further facilitated by strong linkages with data science networks including HDR-UK, South London ARC and the NIHR Mental Health Translational Research Centre.

Tags: CRIS - Bioinformatics & statistics - Covid-19 - South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 18 Nov 2020, 16:00 PM

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