Routinely collected data and patient-centred research in anaesthesia and peri-operative care: a narrative review

R A Armstrong*, R Mouton, R J Hinchliffe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Randomised controlled trials are the gold standard in clinical research, but remain rare due to their expense and a perceived lack of ‘real‐world’ applicability. At the same time, there has been an exponential increase in routinely collected data which presents opportunities for audit, quality improvement, adverse event reporting and more efficient clinical research. Registry‐based research benefits from reduced cost, large sample size and real‐world applicability, with methodological developments, particularly registry‐based randomised controlled trials and causal inference techniques, showing promise. Limitations include data quality and validity, the need for data linkage, the restrictions of fixed data fields, regulatory barriers, and privacy and security concerns. However, the principal factor hampering current efforts is a lack of anaesthesia‐specific datasets in the UK and the fact that most surgical registries do not collect any anaesthetic data. This presents an opportunity for anaesthetists, through enhanced engagement and collaboration, to influence and improve the design of these datasets and increase the value and volume of data collected. Better datasets, coupled with a growing appreciation of new analysis methodologies, would allow significant progress towards realising the potential of routinely collected data for patient benefit. At the same time, work should begin on the development of a minimum dataset for anaesthesia to underpin new data sharing networks and, ideally, a national registry of anaesthesia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Early online date17 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Nov 2020


  • Registry trials
  • routinely collected health data
  • registries
  • electronic health records
  • peri-operative clinical trials


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