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Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS)

Cardiff University is working in partnership with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CAVUHB) to establish a computer system called CRIS: Clinical Record Interactive Search.

CRIS is an innovative technological solution that will allow data to be safely and securely extracted from the Health Board’s electronic mental health clinical record system (called PARIS), de-identify it to protect patient identities and then load it into a separate and secure database.

This extensive, de-identified database can then be searched by authorised users for audit, service evaluation and research purposes.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board strongly believe in the importance of maximising the use of routinely collected clinical data in order to improve outcomes and services for mental health patients. CRIS allows this data to be used in a way that protects and maintains patient confidentiality.

How are personal details protected in CRIS?

The CRIS software removes any information from the patient clinical record that might identify an individual, such as name, address and full date of birth. This process is known as de-identification. Once removed, CRIS then loads this de-identified data into a separate and secure database. This means that an individual’s clinical details can be used for research or evaluation purposes, but their personal details cannot.

An example of how de-identified data would appear in CRIS is shown below:


How will CRIS help research?

CRIS will allow us to look at up-to-date, long-term clinical information in large numbers of people, providing an unprecedented opportunity for large-scale research projects within real-world clinical populations.

This will make it easier to identify patterns and trends in data, such as what treatments work for some and don’t work for others, enabling us to better understand the causes of physical and mental illness and how best to treat them.

CRIS will not only help to increase the amount of mental health research undertaken within the Health Board but will also make it easier to monitor and evaluate current service provision, facilitating improvements in the clinical care of mental health patients.

In implementing CRIS, Cardiff and Vale UHB will join a number of Mental Health NHS Trusts across the UK in a network aimed at revolutionising mental health and dementia research. Read more information on the CRIS Network.

Who can access CRIS?

Cardiff and Vale UHB impose a strict process for allowing access to the CRIS database. CRIS is only available to approved researchers and clinicians who have a contract with the UHB. These individuals might work in collaboration with other organisations in clinical or research settings, such as a University.

The use of CRIS is governed by an Oversight Committee who review all applications wishing to use the system. In addition, all individuals approved to use CRIS will be strictly monitored and an audit log of CRIS use will be regularly reviewed by the CRIS Oversight Committee.

In some circumstances, CRIS may be used to search for individuals who meet criteria for a research study, for potential patient recruitment. These studies require additional approvals and must follow CAVUHB’s standardised procedures. For more information on CAVUHB’s approach to informing patients about research they may want to be involved in, please visit the Participate webpage.

How is it funded?

Funding for the implementation of CRIS is being supported through a grant obtained from the Medical Research Council (MRC) as part of their Mental Health Data Pathfinder award, in which the main objective was to enhance the UK’s research capability in mental health.

Whilst CRIS will provide a rich resource for research discovery, it will also provide an ideal platform to expand the service evaluation and audit capabilities of the Health Board, feeding directly into service improvement strategies.

What if I do not want to be included?

If an individual does not wish to have their de-identified clinical record included in CRIS, they can opt-out at any time by contacting the CRIS team on the details provided below.

Opting out of CRIS will not have any impact on the care or treatment an individual receives.


Telephone: 029 2182 4968

Further information…

For further information on CRIS, please visit the CAVUHB CRIS page. You can also download the CRIS leaflet below.

For any researchers or clinicians wishing to use the CRIS system, please visit the UHB page for further detail, or contact the CRIS team on the details provided above.



National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff University, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ

+44 (0)29 2068 8401
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