Health Data Science
Protecting and improving health through advanced statistical techniques and clinical trials methods.
The increasingly large amount of healthcare data currently collected opens the door to exciting challenges and opportunities. The application of complex statistical approaches can be used to optimise the information available, with the primary goal of improving healthcare delivery processes and interventions in our community and beyond. We focus on the development and application of statistical techniques and clinical trials methodology to address a variety of healthcare problems.
Our challengesOur challenges
Clinical Trials Methodology
Better care for people needs good quality research. We facilitate and accelerate the development of new and improved approaches for the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials, particularly in methodologically challenging areas.
Important decisions about health need evidence. We develop and use a range of evidence synthesis methods to bring evidence together in a robust and useful format, enabling healthcare professionals to deliver safe and effective care.
Electronic health data is the future of health research. We develop, share and use novel methodologies to enhance the way health outcomes are measured and used in clinical trials, disease registries, administrative datasets and electronic health records to support research, quality improvement and healthcare delivery.
Reliable health-related outcomes require robust statistical methods. We have several inter-linked research groups with interests on methodologies and software of multivariate data modelling, joint longitudinal and event history modelling, statistical genetics and pharmacogenomics, prognostic modelling and causal analysis.
Liverpool Clinical Trials Centre (LCTC)
The LCTC is a leading UK clinical trials unit and research group which works with the NHS and commercial partners, patients and the public to contribute to the identification and evaluation of new and innovative treatments and devices.
Liverpool Reviews and Implementation Group (LRiG)
Specialising in systematic review methodologies, LRiG's expert team produces high-quality, policy relevant research on behalf of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and others to facilitate evidence-based decision making in healthcare.
Study with usOur institutes
Courses and workshops
A wide selection of courses and workshops are delivered by the Department of Health Data Science. From day workshops to 3 day events or longer, these will introduce delegates to the fundamentals of Health Data Science covering topics such as identifying issues in the design of projects, various types of analysis, and how to use R software.
MSc in Health Data Science
Offering specialist training for current and aspiring health data scientists, this MSc combines research-focused teaching, training and development in an emerging discipline. The MSc in Health Data Science is supported by Health Data Research UK – the national institute for health data science.
Informing clinical policy on epilepsy treatment
We have informed practice and policy worldwide in the management of patients presenting with newly diagnosed epilepsy, which has achieved international impact on health. Seizures are common and 3-5% of the population will be given a diagnosis of epilepsy during their lifetime. Decisions about when to start treatment, and if so with which drug are crucial and can have a significant effect on outcomes for the individual and have significant economic consequences for society. The research includes the undertaking and analysis of data from randomised controlled trials. The research identified the most appropriate first line treatments for patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy, addressing both clinical and cost effectiveness. This work has underpinned national policy and triggered the most recent update of the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) epilepsy guidelines in 2012.
HLA Alleles as Genetic Predictors for Drug-Induced Hypersensitivity Reactions
We have had health impact on immune-mediated drug hypersensitivity reactions, which can be severe and life-threatening. It has shown that predisposition to hypersensitivity reactions caused by abacavir, nevirapine, carbamazepine and flucloxacillin is due to specific HLA genes on chromosome 6. This has led to changes in the drug label and guidelines for abacavir, increased HLA-B*57:01 gene testing in the NHS through a University spin-out company, and a reduction in the incidence of hypersensitivity from 7% to less than 1%. The more recent demonstration of HLA-A*31:01 and predisposition to carbamazepine hypersensitivity, has led to drug label changes for carbamazepine.
Treatment Outcomes in Epilepsy
We have undertaken a programme of work assessing treatment outcomes associated with antiepileptic drug treatment in patients with epilepsy. This includes two large pragmatic trials in patients with first seizures and newly diagnosed epilepsy, and cohort studies assessing malformations and cognitive development in children exposed to antiepileptic drugs in utero, and the work of the Cochrane Epilepsy Group. This work has influenced prescribing in the UK and worldwide. In particular, it triggered NICE guidelines update (2012), underpins guidance on management of first seizures, new epilepsy, women with epilepsy, led to changes to drug labelling (SPC) for sodium valproate (2011), informed guidance in other countries (e.g. German guidelines, International League Against Epilepsy Guidelines; US Medicine guidelines), and underpins UK and EU policy on driving following first seizures and antiepileptic drug withdrawal.
Professional advice to support health data science research. We offer a broad range of consultancy services including statistical advice, guidance regarding clinical trial design, funding proposal development, research design, economic evaluation and market access. We work with a range of individuals from NHS Trusts through to independent researchers and industry. If you would like support for your project please contact the Department.
Drs Angela Boland, Ruaraidh Hill and Michelle Maden – Doing a systematic review: top tips
Systematic reviews bring existing evidence together in a structured way to inform policy, practice questions or research methods. Here, Drs Angela Boland, Ruaraidh Hill and Michelle Maden showcase our successful book ‘Doing a systematic review: a student’s guide’ and share their top tips.
Accreditations and partnerships
The Cochrane Collaboration
The Cochrane Collaboration provides accessible, credible information to support informed decision-making to improve global health. Four of the Cochrane’s Editorial Bases are based in Liverpool – Cystic Fibrosis & Genetic Disorders, Epilepsy, Pregnancy & Childbirth, and Infectious Diseases. In addition, we have strong links with the Cochrane Collaboration through our roles as convenors and members of methods groups, as Cochrane review authors, editorial board members, and through providing statistical support for a variety of review groups.
World Health Organization (WHO)
The WHO leads and champions global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance to live a healthy life. We work closely with the WHO over a variety of projects across a diverse set of clinical areas. Examples include evaluating and developing treatments for people with tuberculosis, informing national policies to scale access to and adoption of clean household energy in Africa, and developing guidance on the marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages to children.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
NICE aims to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services by producing evidence-based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners, developing quality standards and performance metrics for those providing and commissioning health, public health and social care services, and providing a range of information services for commissioners, practitioners and managers across health and social care. We are regularly commissioned by NICE to provide evidence to support policy.
National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC-NWC)
The ARC-NWC aims to improve outcomes for patients and the public, improve the quality, delivery and efficiency of health and care services, and increase the sustainability of the health and care system both locally and nationally. Poor integration of data sources, infrastructure and data scientists has impeded effective research and implementation in the North West Coast region. Our partnership with the ARC-NWC helps to unlock this potential by bringing people and data together on infrastructure tailored to meet the needs of modern data usage.