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  • What is CRIS?

    CRIS stands for the Clinical Record Interactive Search system. It is a software solution that removes information from an electronic medical record that might identify an individual. It then produces a de-identified database that an NHS organisation can use for research.

  • What use is the data for research?

    • Anonymous or de-identified data from medical records can be very useful for research. Significant amounts of information are recorded in these records, particularly the free text notes, and can help organisations better understand how care is being delivered, the causes of disease and the effectiveness of interventions and medications. This de-identified data can help answer all these questions.

    • For some research face to face meetings are required and CRIS can help in this process too. If for example an NHS Trust wants to speak to patients with schizophrenia who are female and between the ages of 25-45 they can use CRIS to search the anonymous database and find out how many people they have who fit this criteria. If these people have given their consent to be contacted about relevant research projects, a special process can be carried out to allow the researchers to get in contact with these (and only these) individuals. To find out more about this process and/or about being contacted about relevant research work, get in touch with the CRIS Administrator.

  • What is De-identified data?

    This is data which has had information removed, masked or modified to protect patient privacy. Items such as name, surname, telephone numbers, addresses and NHS numbers will all be removed or masked to minimise any chance a patient could be identified from the data.

  • Who can access CRIS Data?

    Each NHS organisation running CRIS will have a strict process in place to control who can access the database. All end users will need to register to use CRIS, providing any appropriate evidence of contracts and training completed as defined by the host NHS organisation. They will also need to have a project application approved to gain access to any data.

  • Does anyone monitor/oversee CRIS?

    A local CRIS administrator will oversee the day to day running of the system. The system captures all actions carried out on CRIS via an audit log. This enables the CRIS administrator and the organisation to know exactly how CRIS users are using the system. Additionally, a local oversight committee made up of patient and staff representatives will monitor the use of CRIS, review project applications (you cannot access any data without an approved project) and ensure policies and practices are up to date with the latest legislative and organisational security policies

  • Is CRIS an Opt In or Opt Out model?

    CRIS works on an opt-out model. Data is de-identified and is anonymous when made available for research. However, patients always have the option to opt their record out from being included in CRIS. Details of how this works can be found on your local Trust website.