UK Biobank has reached another major milestone – with data about participants’ hospital admissions now available to help research.
These data provide considerable detail about the reasons why people are admitted to hospital, or attended as an outpatient. They include coded data about the time spent in hospital, including diagnoses and operations. Like all other information collected by UK Biobank, these data will not be provided to scientists in ways that could identify individual participants.
The current data release covers hospitals in England for admissions between April 2006 and March 2011. Data for the period prior to this (back to 1997) and data from Scotland and Wales will be available in the coming months.
Information about people’s hospital stays is collected by the NHS for a wide range of reasons – such as to support healthcare, improve treatments and to help the health authorities plan ahead. But it is also very valuable to health researchers, particularly, as in the case of UK Biobank, when it can be viewed alongside other detailed information provided by participants.
“We are doing all that we can to make UK Biobank as valuable as it can be to health researchers,” said Dr Cathie Sudlow, UK Biobank Chief Scientist.
“Hospital data are crucial to providing as full a picture as possible of the health and well-being of our participants.
“Access to data on the number and types of health conditions that people develop will allow scientists to start asking why some people get particular illnesses and others do not.” Please take a look at a summary of these data at the UK Biobank Data Showcase.
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