The Integrated Longitudinal Research Resource is a unique data resource supporting the rapid evaluation of public health activities and health service interventions. It combines data from a number of different data sources to develop neighbourhood level indicators that can track changes in the determinants of health, health outcomes and service use at the neighbourhood level. Data sources include hospital admissions, outpatient appointments, A&E attendances, GP prescribing measures, measures of disease prevalence and social and economic measures, as well as data from the CLAHRC NWC household survey. Indicators can be rapidly generated to reflect the specific objectives of the evaluated interventions. Where health service interventions or public health activities have been targeted at particular areas, the ILRR allows those areas to be matched with comparison areas that are very similar but have not received the intervention. By comparing outcome indicators before and after these interventions, to the change in these measures in the comparator areas we can robustly estimate their impact. This provides information on effectiveness to our LA and NHS partners far more rapidly than more traditional research methods.
Using this approach, the ILRR is supporting diverse evaluation projects across the CLAHRC NWC.
This has included analysis showing the positive impact a new community CVD service had on reducing emergency admissions. Evaluations of the free leisure offers provided by 2 of CLAHRC NWC partner local authorities have demonstrated a positive impact on inequalities in physical activity. Analysis using ILRR indicators to estimate the health service costs of local air pollution is being used to inform the Liverpool City Region Mayor’s air pollution strategy.
The ILRR has pioneered a technique that effectively uses NHS and Local Authority data to improve patient care and promote public health, whilst minimising any information governance risks. A recent audit by NHS Digital complemented the robust information governance procedures of the project and highlighted its potential for producing real benefits for patients and the public.
The ILRR has been commissioned by the World Health Organisation to develop indicators for monitoring health inequalities across Europe.
Contribution of CLAHRC North West Coast
The CLAHRC NWC has enabled the ILRR to be developed as a collaboration between the CLAHRC NWC NHS and local authority partners, the ESRC funded Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) and the NIHR Gastrointestinal Health Protection Research Unit (GIHPRU). Funding of the project has been shared across the partners including a joint appointment of a data scientist funded 50% by the CLAHRC NWC and 50% by the CDRC, and joint funding of data acquisition and infrastructure between the GIHPRU and CLAHRC NWC. The ILRR is benefiting from the CLAHRC NWC’s close working arrangements with our NHS and LA partners enabling a research resource to be developed that is responsive to their research needs whilst providing high quality research outputs.
What happened next?
The ILRR is supporting further projects in CLAHRC NWC, including investigating the health service impact of improvements to private rented sector housing in Blackpool, changes to GP contracts in Liverpool and the introduction of new direct anticoagulant drugs across the UK.
The value of the project has been recognised by our partners with one local authority commissioning the ILRR to produce physical activity related health indicators to support the evaluation of Sport England’s Local delivery pilots. The resource is now being used by another NIHR Public Health Research Programme project evaluating the health impact of the Big Local community empowerment initiative. The ILRR has been commissioned by the World Health Organisation to develop indicators for monitoring health inequalities across Europe.