VIKING Genes

Electronic Health Record Linkage

When our volunteers joined our studies, we asked if they agreed to us linking to their health records. What can this do for research? Learn more here.

What Electronic Health Records do we have?

Patient data is an essential part of the healthcare we receive from the NHS. These Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are kept securely by the NHS and are routinely updated by the NHS after patient visits. To obtain EHRs for our research, we work with NHS experts to link to the data about our volunteers through the Community Health Index (CHI) number.

There's a vast array of different EHRs, which have been collected for up to 50 years. Volunteer records you can apply to access include summary data on:

  • Prescriptions
  • Outpatients
  • General acute/inpatients¬†
  • Maternity¬†
  • Mental health
  • Scottish cancer registry
  • Neonatal inpatients
  • Scottish birth records
  • Blood biochemistry

The type of project you have in mind will alter the summary data you may wish to access. If you'd like to learn more about these datasets and what they contain, you can visit the SMR datasets website: SMR Datasets

Alternatively, you can send us an enquiry to accessQTL@ed.ac.uk

Electronic Health Records - Graphic as listed in bullet points in text

What are Viking Genes doing with EHRs?

We're already working on some fascinating research using some of these data. The EHRs include a highly accurate register of people in Scotland who have been diagnosed with cancer. Entries in this register, which include volunteers from the Orkney Complex Disease Study (ORCADES), are now being studied by our colleagues at The University of Edinburgh. Working with our other colleagues at the University of Aberdeen, they are comparing reported cases of breast cancer against genetic data in the ORCADES study.

They want to study the links between a rare variation in the BRCA1 gene, found in some Orcadians, and breast cancer. The researchers hope to find out if the rare genetic variation increases a person's chance of getting breast cancer or ovarian cancer. The results should further help the planning and delivery of genetic services and treatments by the NHS.

If you are a researcher and would like to access summaries of any of our electronic health record information, get in touch with us at accessQTL@ed.ac.uk.