THIN is a collaboration between INPS and Cegedim Heathcare Software. INPS has written unobtrusive data collection software for THIN, which is incorporated into Vision.
The main licensee of the THIN database is IMS Health, an organisation providing access to research data. Since 2015 IMS Health has incorporated the medical research staff who were instrumental in developing the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) in the late 1980s. The staff at IMS Health have spent over 20 years facilitating the research use of UK GP Primary Care databases. IMS Health’s clients include prestigious academic research groups, as well as major pharmaceutical companies.
THIN’s electronic data is supplied to the medical research community by the licensees, who service the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, universities and medical research organisations. They also supply pseudonymous electronic primary care patient data from several other countries.
Anonymised patient data is collected from the practice’s Vision system overnight using Download Manager, so there is never any interruption during daily use. The data is delivered to INPS who collate it and transmit it to the licensees of the THIN data.
The licensees runs a further anonymisation program to ensure all free text has no identifiable information, before they supply the data to approved researchers for medical and ethically approved studies. Such research is always approved by a medical ethics/scientific committee.
In the UK all research involving data collected from the National Health Service (NHS) patients must be approved by a Research Ethics Committee. The Research Ethics Committee is convened to provide independent advice to participants, researchers, funding bodies, sponsors, employers, care organisations and professionals on the extent to which proposals for research studies and clinical audit projects comply with recognised ethical standards.
The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) reviews studies and clinical audit (data collection) projects which involve patients from several local areas. The THIN Data Collection Scheme was approved by the South-East Multicentre Research Ethics Committee (SE-MREC), which has now been incorporated into the NRES Committee.
We take medical research data ethics very seriously at THIN.
All our members are supplied with a declaration poster informing their patients of the practice’s participation in a DH approved research scheme. Spot checks are made, with the help of INPS, to ensure our members are displaying the poster where it can be clearly seen by its patients. As well as the poster, a document with suggested wording is given to our members for use in their patient booklets.
Want to know more?
- For information and benefits of joining THIN, click here
- For a full list of frequently ask questions, click here
- To discover more about the THIN’s Additional Information Service and Advisory Group, click here
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To get in touch with one of the THIN team or to join, please complete and submit the form below.