CO-CONNECT: A hybrid architecture to facilitate rapid discovery and access to UK wide data in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Emily Jefferson, Christian Cole, Shahzad Mumtaz, Sam Cox, Tom Giles, Samuel Adejumo, Esmond Urwin, Daniel Lea, Calum McDonald, Joseph Best, Erum Masood, Gordon Milligan, Jenny Johnston, Scott Horban, Ipek Birced, Christopher Hall, Aaron Jackson, Clare Collins, Sam Rising, Charlotte DodsleyJill Hampton, Andrew Hadfield, Roberto Santos, Simon Tarr, Vasiliki Panagi, Joseph Lavagna, Tracy Jackson, Antony Chuter, Jillian Beggs, Magdalena Martinez-Queipo, Helen Ward, Julie von Ziegenweidt, Frances Burns, Jo Martin, Neil Sebire, Carole Morris, Declan Bradley, Rob Baxter, Anni Ahonen-Bishop, Amelia Shoemark, Ana Valdes, Benjamin J. Ollivere, Charlotte Manisty, David William Eyre, Stephanie Gallant, George Joy, Andrew McAuley, David W. Connell, Kate Northstone, Katie J. M. Jeffery, Emanuele Di Angelantonio, Amy McMahon, Matthew Walker, Malcolm Gracie Semple, Jessica Mai Sims, Emma Lawrence, Bethan Davies, J. Kenneth Baillie, Ming Tang, Gary Leeming, Linda Power, Thomas Breeze, Natalie Gilson, Duncan J. Murray, Chris Orton, Iain Pierce, Ian Hall, Shamez Ladhani, Matthew Whitaker, Laura Shallcross, David Seymour, Susheel Varma, Gerry Reilly, Andrew Morris, Susan Hopkins, Aziz Sheikh, Philip Quinlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: COVID-19 data have been generated across the UK as a by-product of clinical care and public health provision, and numerous bespoke and repurposed research endeavours. Analysis of these data has underpinned the UK's response to the pandemic and informed public health policies and clinical guidelines. However, these data are held by different organisations and this fragmented landscape has presented challenges for public health agencies and researchers as they struggle to find, navigate permissions to access and interrogate the data they need to inform the pandemic response at pace.

Objective: To transform UK COVID-19 diagnostic datasets to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).

Methods: A federated infrastructure model was rapidly built to enable the automated and reproducible mapping of health Data Partners' pseudonymised data to the OMOP common data model without the need for any data to leave the data controllers' secure environments and to support federated cohort discovery queries and meta-analysis.

Results: 56 datasets from 19 organisations are being connected to the federated network. The data includes research cohorts and COVID-19 data collected through routine health care provision linked to longitudinal healthcare records and demographics. The infrastructure is live, supporting aggregate level querying of data across the UK.

Conclusions: CO-CONNECT was developed by a multidisciplinary team enabling rapid COVID-19 data discovery, instantaneous meta-analysis across data sources, and is researching streamlined data extraction for egress into a Trusted Research Environment (TRE) for research and public health analysis. CO-CONNECT has the potential to make UK health data more interconnected and better able to answer national-level research questions whilst maintaining patient confidentiality and local governance procedures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Early online date1 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2022


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