New “super” database enables major psychiatric research projects

Staff at Cavendish Square Group member Trusts, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I) and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), are carrying out cutting edge research using a groundbreaking “super” database.

The Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) system contains millions of pieces of anonymous patient information which can now be analysed on a cross-trust scale that would previously have been impossible. The volume of data allows Trust clinicians and managers to make evidence-based decisions when planning the most effective mental health services for the future and has the potential to show which treatments work best and improve care for thousands of people with mental ill-health.

Using the CRIS database enabled researchers to analyse six years of clinical records, narrowing the data to a core pool of about 18,000 relevant but anonymous service users whose treatment in the following 12 months could then be traced.

This first piece of work to be jointly published successfully identified the key factors that increase the likelihood of service users being admitted to acute mental health services within a year of previously being cared for by Crisis Resolution Teams (CRTs), with the findings published in the highly-respected Lancet Psychiatry.

Professor Osborn, a Clinical Consultant at C&I and Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at UCL, led the development of the CRIS database, working with UCL research associate Nomi Werbeloff-Becker. Professor Osborn said: “The CRIS database is a hugely exciting and significant step forward in helping us and partners undertake much larger mental health research projects to benefit patients.”

The Cavendish Square Group, as the organisation representing all 10 NHS mental health trust on London, is committed to developing the ways that we can work together across all Trusts, developing strategic thinking and driving improvements in London’s mental health care. 

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