Collaboration top section

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, in March 2020 colleagues from NHS Lothian and the University of Edinburgh asked the DataLoch team to help in the production of a dedicated COVID-19 linked dataset. This request was motivated by a need to support immediate hospital-based service management and to provide a foundation for active and anticipated regional and national research into the outbreak.

DataLoch, working in collaboration with clinicians on NHS Lothian data, built a linked COVID-19 dataset for use by approved researchers, on 30 April 2020. 

Combined routine, testing, and manually checked clinical data

The COVID-19 dataset:

  • combines data from many sources including the hospital laboratory information system, electronic patient records, Scottish morbidity records, critical care and medicine prescribing information;
  • provides information on the indication for testing, symptoms (type and duration), and vulnerability to infection via a series of questions embedded in the clinical request for testing; and
  • manually collected data on all COVID-19-positive patients’ hospital episodes, including initial symptoms, risk scores, comorbidities, radiology investigations, treatments, complications, outcomes and cause of death.


The rapid collection and linkage of data as part of the COVID-19 Collaborative was made possible due to the extensive efforts of an interdisciplinary team.

COVID-19 Collaborative Contributors

Medical students and staff talking in a research lab

Collaboration last paragraph

Rapid evaluations, interdisciplinary research, supporting service and policy developments

Potential applications for these data include:

  • rapid evaluation of new diagnostic tests and pathways to improve care and patient outcomes;
  • inter-disciplinary research and clinical trials; and 
  • supporting NHS Lothian (and, potentially, national) service and policy developments.


Projects Delivered

close up of a medical student wearing a stethoscope