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.

The DataLoch team, 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.

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.