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Electronic data are increasingly recorded in clinical practice. Just as advances in genetics have gradually led to clinical benefit1 so too are ‘big data’ bringing tangible advances to patient care.2
The UK has a long history of using electronic neonatal data for research and is now in the enviable position of having electronic patient data on all admissions to National Health Service (NHS) neonatal units in England, Wales and Scotland. This national resource, the National Neonatal Research Database (NNRD), is available for research, audit, benchmarking and quality improvement. Here, we provide an overview of how data entered into an electronic system (Badger.net; Clevermed Ltd) as a component of day-to-day care, are used to form the NNRD and how this can be used by health professionals.
A brief history of neonatal databases
For over 25 years, neonatal data have been collected in regional databases such as The Neonatal Survey. The availability of national neonatal data is, however, a relatively recent phenomenon in the UK and internationally. In the UK the use of electronic patient records shared across neonatal units began in 2004 as a regional initiative. This platform, Badger.net, subsequently expanded nationwide; it is now used by many neonatal units to plan services and record activity for payment by NHS England.
In 2007, the Neonatal Data Analysis Unit (NDAU) was established at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital campus of Imperial College London to improve the quality of electronic clinical data …
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