Generation Scotland

Health Record Research

Case Study on health record research.

A key strength of medical research in Scotland is the ability to link to the many medical records that are routinely collected from GP and dental practices, hospitals and out-patient clinics, including prescribing information. GS participants gave permission for us to do these linkages, subject to the additional checks and balances that apply to all such research, including ethics review, and implementation of patient confidentiality and data security measures. This capability allows researchers to look both back and forward in time to see what happens before and after the onset of any medical condition. So even though GS is not seeing the participants regularly in the clinic, their medical records can show how they are faring over time. This makes GS a longitudinal study, the gold standard for epidemiology, health prediction and treatment response. A good example of this ability is a study showing that the data from routine blood-based biochemistry tests can be used to find evidence for genes that affect urate levels (a marker of kidney disease and gout) as effectively as a costly clinical study.

GS study ID: GSM020 Kerr

Key reference: Electronic health record and genome-wide genetic data in Generation Scotland participants. Kerr, S. M., Campbell, A., Marten, J., Vitart, V., McIntosh, A. M., Porteous, D. J., Hayward, C (2017). Wellcome Open Research.