Real-world data drives better services, medicines and healthcare for you and future generations.
What is THIN®
‘The Health Improvement Network’ or THIN® is a database of anonymous patient health and treatment information, recorded by your GP. The data can be used to benefit future patients by sharing knowledge about infections, diseases, cancer, assessment, treatment and care services as well as medicine safety and effectiveness.
THIN® is a UK only database of primary care (GPs) anonymised longitudinal patient records that covers approximately 6% of the UK population and is nationally representative of the UK population. Data is anonymous and encrypted and managed in accordance with General Data Protection Legislation and Ethical regulations.
What are the benefits of THIN?
Population Health Management using data is a developing practice in which local health and care partnerships plan long term improvements in health and wellbeing service delivery. Using the available resources to achieve the biggest impact for the population.
THIN® data can benefit many areas of healthcare as a whole which impacts the whole population including;
- Primary Care Policy which impacts GP’s and Pharmacy
- Secondary Care Policy which impacts Hospitals
- Epidemiological research, the study of how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why
- Pharmacovigilance which is the practice of monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licensed for use
- Drug approvals and licencing ensuring that drugs work and are acceptably safe
Your Data Confidentiality
Coded information in health records is extracted automatically for research in an anonymised way, without including personal identifiers such as name or address.
The use of THIN® data is overseen by an Advisory Committee composed of patients, clinicians, and researchers from University College London and the University of Birmingham. They ensure that patient data is used for research in a safe, confidential and appropriate way. The THIN® database is managed by THIN Ltd. which is a standalone legal entity, established to enable health data to be used for patient benefit.
More detailed information on the governance of THIN® and the regulatory bodies that approve the data including The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), NHS Digital and the NHS Health Research Authority – Ethics Committee can be found here.
Regulatory bodies we have approval from include:
- What information does THIN® hold?
Registration Details, patient encrypted ID, year of birth, sex, registration dates. For patients less than 1 year old, the month as well as year of birth is collected. Therapy records, acute and repeat prescriptions, dates and issues, including prescribing instructions, drug codes and dosages. Medical history records and clinical codes. Additional health data, including blood tests and other examination results.
- How can I opt out?
Opting out - If you do not want your data to be used for research, please let practice staff at your GP know, and your records will not be collected for THIN®. This will not affect your care in any way.
- Who is responsible for the quality of information in the database?
GP’s are solely responsible for the quality of the information provided to THIN® which guarantees its accuracy. THIN® does not have access to the virgin information stored in the GPs systems. GP’s are solely responsible for safeguarding and data protection of the raw information prior to its transfer to THIN®.