Professor Angela Wood will join the BHF Data Science Centre as Associate Director and Theme Lead for Structured Data.

The focus of Angela’s theme is whole-population linked health data. This theme is about enabling research that benefits patients and the public through secure and safe access for researchers to multiple sources of high-quality, linked healthcare data at a UK population-wide scale.

Structured Data refers to information from electronic health records such as GP and hospital systems providing information about health conditions and hospital admissions in a well-defined – or  structured –  way.

Research studies that use multiple sources of health data from everyone in the population make discoveries that are relevant to all people irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity, wealth, or other characteristics, and can provide the very large sample sizes that traditional research approaches often cannot.

This work was kick-started by the NIHR-BHF CVD-COVID-UK flagship project looking at the relationship between COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease. The Centre’s efforts in this area have already resulted in the set-up of NHS Digital’s Trusted Research Environment for England, which contains de-identified health records for over 96% of the English population in a safe and secure space. Public and Patient Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) representatives are consulted to ensure that patient voices are embedded in all studies in this area, from study onset to dissemination.

Angela said: “I am delighted to join the BHF Data Science Centre and to be working alongside an amazing health data science team. The achievements that the Centre has made in its short existence – including the establishment of a Trusted Research Environment for England – are remarkable. I am confident that we will continue to make great strides to improve safe data access to accelerate research for the benefit of patients.”

Angela is also Professor of Health Data Science at the University of Cambridge, where she leads a programme of research in medical statistics and lectures in statistical epidemiology. She already plays a leading role in the BHF Data Science Centre’s CVD-COVID-UK/COVID-IMPACT consortium, and recently co-led a major publication highlighting the lasting effects of Covid-19 infection on the risk of blood clots.

Professor Cathie Sudlow, Director of the BHF Data Science Centre said: Angela brings with her a wealth of expertise and experience. She is enthusiastic about reshaping and improving the way that we use electronic health records in the UK to enhance lives, and about broadening our reach internationally. Her leadership will be a great boost to our terrific health data science team.

Structured Data is one of several key thematic areas at the BHF Data Science Centre.