Project Overview

The Patient Records Enhancement Programme (PREP), launched on the 1st January 2009, brings together researchers from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, the University of Sussex, and the University of Brighton. It is funded by the Wellcome Trust, under the joint initiative in Electronic Patient Records and Databases in Research Scheme. The Principal Investigator for this project is Prof. Jackie Cassell.

Working with data provided by the GPRD, PREP aims to explore the potential of information concealed within free text to answer key questions in biomedical, clinical and public health research. Databases of electronic patient records are used extensively in biomedical research. However very little attention tends to be paid to the information contained in the free text fields (notes, letters, reports, etc.). The information they contain can be difficult to manage, or concealed in the less accessible doctors’ ‘free text’ notes.

By determining the balance between free text and coded data along with completeness of recording in primary care, the PREP team is examining how this variation affects data accessibility for the users of electronic patient records. PREP is also exploring how this extracted free text can be better represented to users.

'The PREP team tackles this by using four methodological approaches. Please click on each link to read more:

PREP Work Streams

Natural Language Processing >>

We are using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to enrich parts of the data in records. See how this will increase the usability of the data for secondary researchers.

Visualisation >>

Discover more about the development of our visualisation tool to aid pattern recognition in data more effectively.

Human Computer Interaction >>

Find out how our field studies working with GP’s help us understand how and why data is collected in the electronic patient record.

Statistical Comparison >>

Look at how we combine our NLP results and Visualisation tools to improve the ability of data to answer public health questions.

Over the course of this project, software will be developed for researchers and clinicians to visualise coded information and text. This will enable researchers to evaluate the correctness of the generated data and see how useful the techniques will be in improving the quality and usefulness of electronic records for research.

Our work will generate a greater understanding of health care and the behaviour of health providers, informing social debate and policy by enhancing our understanding of the ‘real life’ of health records.

Brighton and Sussex Medical School University of Sussex University of Brighton
Wellcome Trust University College London General Practice Research Database Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Primary Care Research Network - South East