Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS)

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have implemented a system called Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS). This is an innovative research solution designed by our colleagues in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and Kings College London, and since developed by Oxford University. The programme has been running for over 10 years and is an established solution for NHS Trusts to use.

CRIS allows us to safely and securely retrieve data from the Trusts Electronic Medical Record System (Rio), de-identify it to protect service user identities, and then upload it to a secure database. This then allows us to query the data in a much more sophisticated way and we can conduct research, clinical audits and service evaluations for the benefits of our services and service users. CRIS does not involve the collection of any new data.

CRIS is used by 12 NHS Mental Health Trusts across the country. Through CRIS we are also able to safely share de-identified data with these Trusts to accelerate research work in dementia and mental health on a larger scale.

Quick FAQs

What if I do not want my data to be included?

If you are happy for your clinical records to be de-identified and included in CRIS, you do not need to do anything.

If you would prefer your de-identified notes to not be included, we are advising you to use the ‘National Data Opt-out’ system here Should you with to remove your data from CRIS with immediate effect, please contact the R&D Department at 

How are my personal details protected?

CRIS is designed to process service user records, remove all personal identifiable information and then produce the output. Your name, carers name, postcode, address, date of birth, NHS number and phone number are all replaced with XXXXX.

So for example:

This… Becomes this…
Born 28 August 1937, female Born XXXXX August 1937, female
6 The Mews, Fictionvile XXXXX
NHS Number 54321 NHS Number XXXXX
Alzheimers disease Alzheimers disease
Taking donepezil 5mg at night Taking donepezil 5mg at night
Memory score 23 this week Memory score 23 this week

Who uses CRIS?

Access to CRIS requires formal authentication i.e. username and password. Only those individuals authorised by the Trusts Research and Development (R&D) department will have permitted access. If the CRIS researcher is not employed by the Trust, they must:

– be working under the supervision of someone Trust employed
– have completed NHS Information Governance Training in the NHS in the last 12 months
– be issued with a Trust Letter of Access confirming, amongst other things, that they must abide by Trust policies.

All projects wishing to use CRIS are required to submit a written application via the UKCRIS system. This will be reviewed by a virtual BSMHFT CRIS Monitoring Group consisting of:

– the Head of R&D
– the Information Governance Lead
– the Trust Informatics Team
– A Local Clinician (picked dependent on project area)

Applications are judged for their underlying value and benefits, whether they have the appropriate supervision and governance, and whether there could be an inadvertent risk of patient identification. Only when the CRIS Monitoring Group is satisfied, will a project be granted access.

For further information on CRIS at the Trust, please email:

Deprecated: htmlspecialchars(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($string) of type string is deprecated in /sites/ on line 4715