Since the full launch of the DataLoch service in August 2022, support for researchers has expanded through further improving the data quality and views of data in the DataLoch repository. In addition, the development of a series of registries has commenced: the first will enhance support of respiratory research in the form of the DataLoch Respiratory Registry. Once complete, attention at DataLoch will turn to developing a new cardiology registry.

Highlights are summarised below. If you would like to find out more, then Connect with Us.

The DataLoch repository update

The datasets hosted by DataLoch are constantly under review and development. In the most recent update, new demographics and observations tables developed by the DataLoch analyst team improve the reliability of these data and enable those undertaking research and NHS service-management explorations to more intuitively access certain types of data such as ethnicity, sex, smoking status, and blood pressure. Pulmonary Function Tests results covering NHS Lothian secondary care have been added, while some existing datasets – including Admissions and Discharges (SMR01) and Mental Health Services (SMR04) – have also seen substantial updates.

The DataLoch repository update – March 2023

New research enabled by DataLoch

In a nationwide cohort study led by Dr Ken Lee (University of Edinburgh), researchers linked multiple routine electronic health care data sources with the support of the DataLoch service to evaluate oral anticoagulation therapy in 172,989 patients who were admitted to hospital in Scotland with non-valvular atrial fibrillation between 2010 and 2019. 

They found that women were significantly less likely to receive oral anticoagulation therapy than men and the disparity was primarily due to vitamin K antagonists such as warfarin. Most patients admitted to hospital with incident non-valvular atrial fibrillation are now treated with direct factor Xa inhibitors including apixaban, edoxaban and rivaroxaban and this is associated with fewer treatment disparities between women and men, and in older, more comorbid patients.

This paper was selected to be featured in a Go Red for Women Spotlight special issue in the Journal of the American Heart Association with an accompanying editorial: access the paper

Launch of the DataLoch Respiratory Registry

DataLoch registries offer theme-specific databases of South-East Scotland residents, usually defined by one or more related conditions or diseases, developed in collaboration with clinical and data expertise. The DataLoch Respiratory Registry is the first of these developed by the team – with the support of the BREATHE Hub (more below) – which improves our support for respiratory-related research and aligns with existing registries in England and Wales offering significant opportunities for research across the three nations. Specifically, this registry is initially comprised of individuals diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), with other conditions, such as asthma, to be included in the future.

Introducing the DataLoch Respiratory Registry

The real-world impact of the BREATHE Hub

The BREATHE Hub has worked with collaborators throughout the UK for the benefit of respiratory research. One such collaboration involves the Wales Asthma Observatory which is a cohort of nearly 200,000 people in Wales. With the involvement of BREATHE, this dataset has seen rapid development with de-identified data now ready for research. A recent study using the Wales Asthma Observatory discovered that asthma patients in the most deprived areas in Wales are more likely to be admitted to hospital and are at a higher risk of death. Similar novel research can now be supported for the South-East Scotland region through the DataLoch Respiratory Registry.

More about the work of the BREATHE Hub

Wellcome Leap project: improving acute cardiac care support 

A new partnership bringing together The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, NHS Lothian and Lenus Health, supported by Wellcome Leap, aims to develop improved support for Emergency Department clinicians through an innovative collaboration. The role of DataLoch is to securely bring together relevant de-identified data for training an artificial-intelligence model ahead of user testing.

Enhancing support for emergency cardiac care clinicians in Scotland

DARE UK funding: Semi-Automated Risk Assessment (SARA) project

As part of a broad collaboration – including colleagues at the Grampian Data Safe Haven – the DataLoch team is leading the development of semi-automated tools to improve the risk assessment and monitoring of data for research. The goal is to support governance teams by ensuring data are accurately processed and linked, and also that any confidentiality risks within clinical free-text records are appropriately minimised. If successful, these tools – informed by a public consultation process – will enable new health and social care innovation in a more timely manner without compromising the robustness of current processes. 

Driver Project SARA on the DARE UK website