NDRS continues to play a significant part in PHE's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Here we provide some examples of the work we have been doing to support the NHS and wider health system.
Building PHE's contact tracing application
At the beginning of the outbreak, the NDRS IT team were responsible for setting up a web based contact tracing application, which was built in only 9 days. PHE is now repurposing it to run on a much bigger scale as part of the Test, Track and Trace programme. The NDRS IT team are involved in the development of this system, now called the Contact Tracing Advisory Service (CTAS).
Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on cancer services
We are developing reports on
to understand the clinical impact of COVID-19 on oncology services. The first report will use data from the Radiotherapy Dataset (RTDS) to display how utilisation of radiotherapy has been affected and possible changes to dose and fraction patterns for major tumour groups during the pandemic. This intial report is due to launch by the end of May and we will include further information in next month's newsletter.
Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on patients with congenital anomalies and rare diseases
We are currently drawing up analytical plans to assess the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic on the epidemiology, detection, treatment and outcomes of congenital anomalies and, where sufficient data is available, rare diseases. We are undertaking this work in collaboration with our counterparts at CARIS the Congenital Anomaly Register and Information Service for Wales. We are also working with a small team at the University of Nottingham and are in the final stages of establishing enhanced surveillance of the effect of COVID-19 on people with rare autoimmune, rheumatic disease, and assessment of potential resulting health inequalities.
Linking new datasets together to help COVID-19 research
The NDRS manages many different types of datasets about cancer and rare diseases and can link to datsets in the NHS to widen our research ability. We are experts on linking datasets together and we also have a dedicated Data Liaison team who help to troubleshoot data issues and improve data quality. With our expertise we have been advising colleagues within PHE and NHS Digital (NHSD) on how to link data and how to share data more efficiently across the healthcare system so that researchers can get access to the data they need safely and securely to understand the effects of COVID-19 on the public and health care system.