Better use of unstructured data: addressing the challenges of accessing, improving and using unstructured data, for example from cardiac and brain imaging, medical free text and electrocardiograms.

What do we mean by ‘unstructured data’?

Unstructured data refers to health information that is not organised in a pre-defined way – for example, there isn’t a pre-set ‘drop down’ list of options that the doctor clicks on. Examples of unstructured data include imaging data, for example data from heart or brain images, ‘free text’ sections of patient medical notes, and electrocardiograms (‘ECGs’).

Find out more about imaging data here.

Why is ‘unstructured data’ important for cardiovascular disease research?

There is a huge amount of potentially useful information in this type of data, which is currently underused for research because it is harder to analyse. We want to improve access to this type of health information, improve the quality of it, and use it to be able to answer key research questions in cardiovascular disease. We hope this will mean that this type of data can be increasingly used to improve the treatment and management of cardiovascular disease.

What are we doing?

To explore how imaging data could be used to better understand cardiovascular disease we organised a workshop, bringing together over 80 imaging, cardiovascular, data science and computer science researchers, healthcare professionals, relevant societies and companies, data custodians and patient/public representatives. You can read the full workshop report here.

As a step towards establishing national priorities for cardiovascular imaging research, we organised a prioritisation exercise to gather the opinions of a diverse range of stakeholders. You can read more about the findings here and in the infographic below.

You can find out more about this work in our webinar entitled “Using imaging data to better understand cardiovascular disease”.

Public and Patient Engagement

In partnership with our public advisory group, we carried out a survey to find out what types of cardiovascular disease research members of the public think are most important. The results of this survey will guide the work across the Centre.

You can learn more about this survey and hear the thoughts of two members of our PPIE group, Phil Blakelock and Julian Meldrum, in our webinar entitled “Amplifying patient and public voices – sharing results from our cardiovascular research priorities survey” here.

Areas of work

Find out more about our data-led research.