Governance and oversight of researcher access to electronic health data: The role of the independent scientific advisory committee for MHRA database research, 2006-2015
© Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. In order to promote understanding of UK governance and assurance: relating to electronic health records research, we present and discuss the role of the Independent Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) for MHRA database research in evaluating protocols proposing the use of the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. We describe the development of the Committee’s activities between 2006 and 2015, alongside growth in data linkage and wider national electronic health records programmes, including the application and assessment processes, and our approach to undertaking this work. Our model can provide independence, challenge and support to data providers such as the Clinical Practice Research Datalink database which has been used for well over 1,000 medical research projects. ISAC’s role in scientific oversight ensures feasible and scientifically acceptable plans are in place, while having both lay and professional membership addresses governance issues in order to protect the integrity of the database and ensure that public confidence is maintained.