Using SAVSNET data for research

SAVSNET is a research resource, collecting large volumes of deidentified electronic health data from UK veterinary practices and diagnostic laboratories. In it's raw format, the data is messy with many different words used to describe one aspect - as a simple example, some veterinary practices will use the word 'canine' and some will use 'dog'. A key focus of the SAVSNET team's work is cleaning the data using sophisticated techniques, making it useable by researchers, something we call making it 'research ready'.

We are currently experiencing high demand and our small team is extremely busy.  We are currently only accepting applications from applicants with funding, or those funded by BBSRC, PetSavers and Dogs Trust. Project timelines will be based on current priorities.

These cleaned data are available for research, and we welcome enquiries from researchers across all fields who want to use veterinary big data in their work.  All applications are reviewed through the Data Access and Publications Panel (DAPP) which is a committee who assess the intended work, including scientific merit and how the work could benefit veterinary practitioners and their patients.  We invite researchers from practice, academia and industry to consider using SAVSNET for their research requirements.

The process of applying to use SAVSNET data is handled by our online system, the DAPP portal.  There are two stages:

  • Stage 1: Submit an enquiry describing the topic and type of data you are interested in.  We will then be touch to discuss in more detail.
  • Stage 2: Submit a full application to use SAVSNET data which will be reviewed by the DAPP panel.  Typically, a decision is made in two weeks.

All researchers who have had their project application approved will be allocated a Data Chaperone.  This is a member of the SAVSNET team who is familiar with the data and who will be able to advise on handling and statistical analyses.  Their advice is very often invaluable, especially when approved researchers could be working with a dataset of tens of thousands of records.

There is a fee for using SAVSNET data for research, which helps cover the cost of cleaning the data, preparing the data for the project and the infrastructure in place for SAVSNET to exist.  The amount is confirmed through the application process once we have the full data requirements.  This money is used to help sustain the longevity of the project so that SAVSNET can continue to be a research resource.

SAVSNET sample data from veterinary practices

To help researchers understand SAVSNET data before applying through DAPP, the team prepared 4415 random consults to display online. This sample of 4415 consults were screened to remove information such as any potential identifiers or financial information that was entered into the electronic health record. Whilst the sample will have minimal research utility, it can be used to explore some of the data SAVSNET holds and help with developing applications for data access. In order to preserve anonymity, certain fields such as breed, age and treatments have also been removed. These, alongside patient sex, neuter status, geographical location and other fields can be requested as part of a full application for data.

We hope you find this dataset useful.  SAVSNET sample vet practice data

Back to: Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET)