CogStack - Unlocking data from patient records in real time

Electronic health records  contain a rich history of the patient journey with huge potential for improving direct patient care, service delivery and research.

However, electronic health records can often be difficult to access and contain incomplete or unstructured information such as large amounts of text, which is challenging and time-consuming to analyse.

Unlocking data from electronic health records

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre has led a collaboration with key partners including UCLH Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and King’s College Hospital to develop CogStack, a search engine, analytics and visualisation tool, to unlock important data from electronic health records, with alerts to support clinical decisions and healthcare research.

CogStack can search any clinical data and, using our artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP), it can assign codes based on particular words, diagnoses or treatments.


Key impacts

  1. Improving the safety of prescribing: e.g., identifying rheumatology patients at risk of medication-related kidney failure.
  2. COVID-19 pandemic insights:

a) demonstrating that certain medicines (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers) do not increase risk of severe outcomes

b) improving ‘early warning’ scores for severe outcomes in hospitalised patients

c) investigating links between ethnicity, pre-existing health conditions and COVID-19

d) hospital symptom trackers to detect future surges

Our findings informed the Government’s SAGE committee and we were finalists in the Health Data Research-UK Team Impact of the Year.

  1. Services/coding and audit: for example streamlining coding for orthopaedic procedures led to 20 per cent increase in procedures identified (£1,260,000/year hospital revenue).

National and international adoption

The freely accessible CogStack platform has been deployed at King’s College Hospital, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Guy's and St Thomas', and University College London Hospitals, triggering lasting change for both physical and mental healthcare.

Others who have adopted our system include international health and care providers and academic groups, including Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre, Australia who were awarded AUS$1.92million for local deployment.

The platform’s importance was recognised in Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer’s annual report, and as a flagship case study in the NHSX AI report, NHS Tech Plan and keynote speeches by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Major funding has been awarded by the Office for Life Sciences, InnovateUK and NHSX to support adoption at other healthcare organisations and development of a model for commercialisation.

In October 2021 the CogStack team won an Elastic Excellence Award – the Public Sector award in the Elastic Excellence Awards and was praised for ‘leading the way in innovative, sustainable, and critical use cases’.



Developing Resources for Research | Data and Analytics to Drive Healthcare | National and International Collaboration