Primary Care Hosted Research Datasets Independent Scientific Committee (PrimDISC)
The department has developed a unified approvals process for accessing departmental data resources. This includes applications to use primary care research datasets, and for the re-use and re-analysis of existing Departmental Trials, Cohorts or other studies.
An independent committee, PrimDISC, reviews the applications. PrimDISC acts on behalf of the NDPCHS Research Committee.
PrimDISC functions to provide access to NDPCHS assets only as some resources, including CPRD, Opensafely and QResearch, require different modes of application.
What are the core aims of this committee?
- Provide timely and high-quality peer review of the scientific (medical, epidemiological, methodological) merit of research protocols proposing access and use of the patient data within its remit
- Provide timely and high-quality peer review of the feasibility, quality and public health value of applications proposing the use of the patient data within its remit
- Follow the criteria and principles set out by the NDPCHS Research Committee in assessing and advising on research applications to access NDPCHS databases
- Assess and advise on ethical or confidentiality issues that may arise during access and/or use of the patient data within its remit in research studies, taking into consideration input from the research ethics committees or other groups, as relevant
- Follow the criteria and principles set out by the relevant oversight boards in assessing and advising on applications to access the databases
- Review internal workings of the Committee to ensure consistency, efficiency and high standards of peer-review are maintained
- Advise the research teams on technical issues that may arise
- Advise on other specific issues within its remit, as requested
- Assess if the proposed project requires ethical approval and to make any positive evaluation contingent to confirmation that this has been obtained.
Summary of the application flow:
1) Applications for data access submitted to Secretariat via email@example.com
2) Feasibility and design aspects of application are vetted : Secretariat will advise applicant if further information is required.
3) Complete applications: 2-3 lead reviewers assigned
4) All applications circulated to committee ahead of meeting for information
5) At the monthly meeting, lead reviewers present review of each application
6) Committee decides on outcomes: accept; revise and resubmit; reject
7) Secretariat notifies applicant
8) Where relevant, approvals, contracts, etc. finalised.
9) Research team liaises with applicant regarding time lines, access to data, etc.
How could this be of benefit to patients?
Committee members make an important contribution to ensuring the quality and robustness of all research studies using primary care data from the department, therefore, increasing the likelihood that these studies will go on to improve patient care in the NHS.