Each health condition exhibits a phenotype which could be as simple as high blood pressure. Therefore, in the context of human health, we define a phenotype as all the characteristics (or “traits”) that together constitute one or more health conditions. The study of phenotypes is known as phenomics, and multiple phenotypes constitute the Phenome.
As a community we are interested in studying the Phenome, i.e. the characteristics of multiple health conditions simultaneously, this is a wide angled approach to health research and is complementary to more ‘vertical’ approaches which focus on one disease or one clinical speciality at a time.
In order to study the Phenome, we can tap into the enormous amount of health data that is contained within Electronic Health Records (EHR) – information that is captured and recorded when a patient visits a health care setting e.g. symptoms, diagnoses, test results or prescriptions. Our researchers are developing tools and methods to unlock this data and make it useable and useful, for healthcare professionals and the patients they care for.
By studying the Phenome, we can for the first time, develop consistent ways to define and understand the risk to an individual’s health across such wide ranges of diseases, which will both support the work of health care professional and the needs of patients.
The Phenome priority area
The Phenome priority area underpins the research being carried out within the HDR UK science priorities: ‘Better Care’, ‘Understanding the Causes of Disease’, ‘Improving Public Health’, ‘Clinical Trials’, ‘Applied Analytics’.