Scotland has one of the most highly developed health informatics systems in the world and a long tradition of using linked health service data for research.
Data linkage is a highly efficient way to evaluate the capacity of interventions to deliver patient benefit. It allows measurement of long term outcomes in clinical trials, assesses the safety of new medical interventions and supports understanding of patterns of health and illness across the whole population.
A range of Scottish Government statistics - gathered, verified and presented by the Information Services Division (ISD) - provide invaluable information on disease incidence by sex, age and geographical location. This information can used to undertake high level clinical trial feasibilities to quantify the initial number of potential candidates for potential trials.
To build upon Scotland's widely-recognised strengths in health informatics research A Health and Biomedical Informatics Research Strategy for Scotland - Enhancing research capability in health informatics for patient and public benefit (2015-2020) has also been published. This strategy aims to ensure Scotland remains at the forefront of health research recognising the importance of stratified medicine, advances in information technology and the increasing complexity of the molecular understanding and treatment of disease.
“Scotland has some of the best health service data in the world. Few other countries have information that combines high quality data, national coverage and, importantly, the ability to link data to allow person-based analysis and follow-up. Through the Scottish Health Informatics Programme and now the Farr Institute this national resource is increasingly contributing to research and to improving health for people in Scotland.”
Professor Marion Bain, Medical Director,
NHS National Services Scotland