Over recent decades, major advances have been made in reusing health data for research.
More recently work has focused on wider administrative data. But there are considerable challenges to be addressed before we can reap the full benefits of administrative data for research.
Significant headway is being made, but there is great scope and appetite for further improvement. This study set out to explore good practice, barriers and bottlenecks in effective administrative data use, and to gain suggestions on how to share the good, solve the bad and improve the clunky issues.
Using the ESRC-funded Administrative Data Research (ADR UK) as the case study, we carried out a qualitative survey, focusing on the data use pathway, across the network.
We grouped survey responses into six themes:
• data acquisition;
• approval processes;
• controls on access and disclosure;
• data and metadata;
• researcher support;
• data reuse and retention.
We used the combined information from the survey and a workshop to inform a set of 18 recommendations across the six themes, and this has been used by the ADRN directors to develop an action plan.