Real-world data considerations for the UK’s National Health Service and other healthcare systems

The availability of real-world data (RWD) and the recognition of its value are on the rise, both in the UK and overseas. RWD is described as data relating to patient health status or the delivery of healthcare collected during the course of clinical care and captured in a variety of data sources, such as administrative claims, electronic health records and product and disease registries.

Real-world evidence (RWE) is generated through the analysis and/or synthesis of RWD and can identify the effects of healthcare interventions, such as benefits, risk or resource use, that are not routinely collected during randomised control trials (RCTs). RWE may enable research that is not possible to model using RCTs but that may be possible through RWE and pragmatic trials.

When considering the use of RWD, a number of questions should be kept in mind from the outset and initial decision-making phase on whether or not to use RWD right through to the analysis and producing results.

This paper by Milliman’s Joanne Buckle and Tanya Hayward outlines some of these key considerations associated with using RWD to widen the evidence base in economic evaluations. These considerations are discussed with a focus on the English National Health Service (NHS) but apply more generally to any healthcare system considering the use of RWD.

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