Data linkages animation illustrates the evolution of healthcare records for research purposes

July 2020

The animation was created by a multidisciplinary team at the NIHR Maudsley BRC to demonstrate the process of data linkage and the benefits for researchers

Data linkage is the joining of two or more independent databases that share a variable at an individual record level – for example, a patient unique NHS number across different records from different sources. The linkage helps improve the quality of information and allows researchers to look at patient’s healthcare in more detail to extract essential data for relevant research. Even though datasets are linked based on their unique identifier, these are all removed and anonymised before being used in research. The animation was produced as a useful tool in Patient and Public Involvement and for other organisations performing data linkage.

For this animation, the team worked with patient advisory groups including the Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group (YPMHAG) and the Data Linkage Service User and Carer Advisory Group. The video was designed by a multidisciplinary steering group consisting of members of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust CRIS team, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London and mental health service users in collaboration with Really Bright Media.

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