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OpenSAFELY delivers urgent results during the global COVID-19 emergency and demonstrates the power of modern, open computational data science techniques for healthcare

OpenSAFLEY is an open source, highly secure analytics platform running across the full pseudonymised primary care records of 24 million people, rising soon to 55 million, 95% of the population of England. 

We are producing research on who gets Covid, the consequences of Covid, and the restoration of NHS services following significant disruption.  On a strategic level, OpenSAFLEY proves the value of large NHS datasets. On a more immediately pragmatic level, the questions the platform is being used to answer are of global importance for clinicians, policymakers and patients around the world.

OpenSAFLEY is a collaboration between the DataLab, the LSHTM EHR research groupTPP, and NHS England/NHSX. 

Project milestones

Our first analysis, identifying which patients are most at risk of death in hospital from COVID-19, was delivered just five weeks after project start. It is now published in Nature and has an altmetric score of 2424. Our paper assessing the association between ICS and COVID-19-related death among people with COPD or asthma using linked electronic health records (EHRs) in England, has also been published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine and our paper on hydroxychloroquine is currently in press. In addition, we have secured funding from Wellcome Trust and MRC; and created a publicly available library of all the codelists developed via OpenSAFELY research; https://codelists.opensafely.org/.

Oxford project lead: