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New Horizons in the use of routine data for ageing research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard DoddsORCiD, Dr Chris WilkinsonORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a review published in its final definitive form in 2020. For re-use rights please refer to the publishers terms and conditions.


The past three decades have seen a steady increase in the availability of routinely collected health and social care data, and the processing power to analyse it. These developments represent a major opportunity for ageing research, especially with the integration of different datasets across traditional boundaries of health and social care which provide the opportunity for novel evaluations of interventions with representative populations of older people. However, there are considerable challenges in using routine data at the level of coding, data analysis, and in the application of findings to everyday care. New horizons in applying routine data to investigate novel questions in ageing research require a collaborative approach between clinicians, data-scientists, biostatisticians, epidemiologists and trial methodologists. This requires building capacity for the next generation of research leaders in this important area. There is a need to develop consensus code lists and standardised, validated algorithms for common conditions and outcomes that are relevant for older people to maximise the potential of routine data research in this group. Lastly we must help drive the application of routine data to improve the care of older people, through the development of novel methods for evaluation of interventions using routine data infrastructure. We believe that harnessing routine data can help address knowledge gaps for older people living with multiple conditions and frailty, and design interventions and pathways of care to address the complex health issues we face in caring for older linkage; ageing; health informatics; routine health data; big data; electronic health records

Publication metadata

Author(s): Todd OM, Burton JK, Dodds RM, Hollinghurst J, Lyons RA, Quinn TJ, Schneider A, Walesby KE, Wilkinson C, Conroy S, Gale CP, Hall M, Walters K, Clegg AP

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Age and Ageing

Year: 2020

Volume: 49

Issue: 5

Pages: 716-722

Print publication date: 01/09/2020

Online publication date: 10/02/2020

Acceptance date: 15/12/2019

ISSN (print): 0002-0729

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2834


DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afaa018