Our Databases

Optimum Patient Care Research Database (OPCRD) holds anonymous data from over 800 general practices in UK and approximately 13.7 million patients.

The NHS Health Research Authority (NHS HRA) has approved OPCRD for clinical research purposes (REC reference: 20/EM/0148). Optimum Patient Care (OPC) provides anonymous OPCRD data to internal and external organisations for research, quality improvement and other purposes, subject to compliance with our data governance framework, licensing and fees.

The Anonymous Data Ethics Protocols and Transparency (ADEPT) committee is an independent body of experts and regulators commissioned by the Respiratory Effectiveness Group (REG) to govern the standards of research conducted on internationally recognised databases, including OPCRD.

All research using OPCRD must be registered on established study databases such as the European Network of Centres for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance (ENCePP) .

OPCRD has supported various research publications in disease management, therapy and science.

Key Features

OPCRD has been purposefully designed to facilitate real-world data collection and address the growing demand for observational and pragmatic medical research, both in the UK and internationally.

OPCRD is known to have a number of unique qualities which set it apart from other scientific resources:

  • De-identified electronic medical records of more than 12 million patients (inc. free text)
  • OPCRD covers all UK clinical systems (EMIS, TPP SystmOne, InPS Vision, Microtest Evolution)
  • OPCRD covers approximately 10% of the UK population, including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland
  • Long standing relationships with over 800 GP practices facilitating enhanced data quality
  • Linked patient reported outcomes for more than 70,000 patients
  • Linkage to secondary care data sources including Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), the Information Services Division (ISD), NHS Wales Information Service (NWIS)
  • Provides access to complementary, expert-level clinical data
  • Ethnicity and Deprivation data

Our database facilitates a broad range of projects:

  • Epidemiological study designs (i.e. cohort, case-control, case-series)
  • Post authorisation safety studies (PASS)
  • Pragmatic randomised clinical trials (RCT’s)
  • Power calculation assumptions informed by real world data
  • HTA funded randomised cluster controlled trials
  • Research of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic methodologies
  • Studies of rare disorders, therapies and their outcomes
  • Numerous peer-reviewed publications featured in world renowned scientific journals

Our Growth

Constantly growing and dynamically updated data source – the database continues to grow at a rapid pace and has grown by 7 million patients since the beginning of 2018.

OPCRD Growth Trend

  • Patient number (millions)

OPCRD patient population regional source location

The patient population that OPCRD consists off is based across the UK with approximately 15% of the UK population included.

How OPCRD receives de-identified data from GP practices but provides anonymised data for approved research

OPC is committed to protecting the confidentiality of patient data it receives from GP practices receiving the OPC quality improvement programme and research support services. OPCRD receives de-identified patient data from GP practices and provides only anonymised data for ethically approved research. De-identified data is data which has had personal information and sensitive information removed.

The process of how we provide anonymised research data from OPCRD is described below:

  • GP practice agrees to contribute their de-identified patient data to OPCRD.
  • GP practice is supported by OPC to set-up their electronic health record system to allow only patient data that has been de-identified to flow to OPC. This means patients cannot be identified from the data the GP practice sends to OPC. OPC never receives any patient identifiable information such as name, date of birth, address or NHS number from the GP practice.
  • Individual patients who have opted-out of their data being shared are excluded from any data sent by their GP practice to OPC.
  • OPCRD has ethics approval (HRA) to receive and provide patient data for research.
  • Researchers request to access data from OPCRD for a specific study. Access in this case means to receive an anonymised research dataset from OPCRD required for only that specific study, and not access to the entire OPCRD database.
  • All requests by researchers to access data from OPCRD are reviewed by an independent body – the Anonymised Data Ethics and Protocol Transparency committee (ADEPT).
  • Only research approved by ADEPT can receive an anonymised research dataset from OPCRD.
  • The de-identified data required for the approved research is then fully anonymised before it is provided to the researcher. Anonymisation involves removing any information which by itself or when combined with other information may possibly identify a patient. You cannot identify a patient from anonymised data or from any results or reports from anonymised data.
  • Researchers sign a contract called a Data Sharing Agreement, which ensures researchers adhere to strict terms and conditions governing how the data is used and how long they can hold the data.
OPCRD_Research Data Flow Diagram_06Aug2020