The CRIS Network is a group of highly innovative NHS Mental Health Trusts who are working together to accelerate research into dementia and mental health. These Trusts are utilising technology and robust information governance measures to enable research, audits, and service evaluations to take place. The CRIS technology allows Trusts to examine data at a scale that was not previously possible, helping organisations to analyse how services are performing, develop new understanding about disease and care delivery, and efficiently carry out feasibility work for research studies and clinical trials. All of this is to develop a better understanding of the care and interventions being provided today (and in the future) so we can improve patient experience, safety, and health outcomes.

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 is De-identified data?

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

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.

Who will access this information?

Each NHS organisation using CRIS will have a strict process in place to control who can access the database. Everyone who uses the system will need to register and provide evidence of contracts and completed training required by the host NHS organisation. They will also need to have their project application approved by an oversight committee 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, which 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, and ensure policies and practices are up to date with the latest legislative and organisational security policies.

Is CRIS an Opt-in or an 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.

To apply for CRIS access or to discuss a project application, please email [email protected] or [email protected]