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C&I research database

Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS)

The C&I research database is called CRIS, which stands for Clinical Record Interactive Search. The database supports population-based research in psychiatry and mental health within the Trust and its partner research organisation, University College London (UCL). The database provides direct clinical benefit to patients because it enables better clinical audit and NHS service development.

How does it work?

Information from C&I NHS clinical records is fed into the research database via a system that removes information which could identify an individual. The data includes structured data, such as tabulated Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scores, and free-text data, such as progress notes and letters. As the data are sent to the research database, they are rendered anonymous, using a linked-anonymised (pseudonymised) method.

This database of anonymised data is accessible only to approved researchers within C&I and its partner research organisations. It is used for population-based research projects such as looking for links between family history and particular illnesses. For this kind of research, the researchers won't know who any service user is, and so service users will not be approached for their permission. 

All records in the research database are identified only by a research ID number. There are no names, exact dates of birth, C&I hospital numbers, or NHS numbers. Only C&I can de-anonymise the information. The database retains details of sex, age (month and year of birth), diagnoses, medication, and so on, including searchable free text.

If you would rather not have your records in the database, please email the C&I Research Database administrator on researchdatabase@candi.nhs.uk.


The national CRIS programme is now over ten years old. The system has been used by researchers with great success. For example, this method revealed the high mortality and lowered average life expectancy in people with serious mental health problems.

Other Trusts which participate in CRIS include South London and Maudlsey NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, West London Mental Health NHS Trust, and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. You can find out more about CRIS at https://crisnetwork.co/.


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