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Intensive care data important for research into COVID-19

It is now easier for researchers to see the type of data included in the Swedish Intensive Care Registry, SIR. The register has been linked to the metadata tool RUT.

One particularly topical register these days is the Swedish Intensive Care Registry, SIR, which reports daily the number of inpatients with COVID-19 in Swedish intensive care departments. Representatives from SIR have worked intensively with the Swedish Research Council to document the contents of the register in RUT, and in this way make it more accessible to research.

Göran Källström

Göran Karlström is one of the founders of the Swedish Intensive Care Registry, and has followed the work at close quarters in his role as administrative and financial head of the SIR.

– We are seeing RUT developing into a fantastic source for overviews and maximised benefit from registers, within both research and health and medical care. RUT could be a national key for variables, their coding and mutual relationships. Sweden needs a tool like RUT, or something similar, to enable it to achieve better standardisation, both for documentation and for follow-up.

There is great potential for linking together investments into improved care documentation within health and medical care with the work of the Swedish Research Council. RUT is already a tool that contributes to the focus on increasing needs for data that is FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). RUT describes metadata in a standardised way, so that researchers can more efficiently combine information from several different data sources. In the end, this improves the quality of research and follow-up based on register data.

RUT – Register Utiliser Tool

The service makes it easier for researchers to get an overview of the variables that are available in Swedish registers, how suitable they are to use in a study, and whether and how they can be linked together. Users can search for variables and concepts without knowing their exact name, or in what registers they can be found. The variables can then be saved in a selection list that can be used as support in the dialogue with the register holder about a possible order for data.

RUT contains metadata from public authority registers, quality registers and biobank sample collections, structured according to an international metadata framework. New registers are continually being added. Most of the metadata and concepts in RUT are in Swedish, but a number of registers have carried out ‘semantic mapping’ to international ontologies and terminologies. Such mapping enables machine reading, and is a precondition for AI applications.

The Register Utiliser Tool (RUT) is developed and funded by the Swedish Research Council.

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