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The Wales Asthma Observatory (WAO) is a national real world evidence cohort of asthma patients, including around 190 000 people with currently treated asthma.

The WAO is working with BREATHE to enrich and maintain this unique national data asset, supporting future research into one of the most common chronic disorders in the UK.

Population scale, longitudinal asthma data

Initially funded by Health and Care Research Wales and Swansea Bay University Health Board, the WAO is based on electronic health record data collected routinely across primary and secondary care since 1990. It includes information detailing the care received by asthma patients, the incidence, outcomes, healthcare events and treatments related to asthma.

Data are linked and held securely in Trusted Research Environment, SAIL Databank, with any identifiable information removed to protect privacy.

Enriching an existing dataset

Following support from BREATHE, the WAO has improved metadata cataloguing and availability, updated linkages and increased coverage of asthma treatment and care pathways. BREATHE has also developed research-ready curated data and algorithms for rapid asthma studies.

With the WAO we are generating one of the largest cohorts of asthma patients available for study with pre-curated data – offering continually updated, population representative real world evidence data on asthma across multiple tiers of care.

Ongoing engagement with patients and the public is crucial to ensure the WAO continues to function with asthma patients at its core. The SAIL Databank Consumer Panel (an active panel of lay representatives) and independent Information Governance Review Panel are involved in decisions regarding use of data held within the WAO and its development.

Providing valuable insights

Population level datasets can provide valuable insights into diseases, their treatment and care. A recent study using the WAO dataset discovered that asthma patients living in the most deprived areas of Wales are more likely to suffer from increased asthma attacks, be admitted to hospital and are at a higher risk of death. This highlights an urgent need to identify ways to improve asthma outcomes for those from deprived communities.

The WAO is a hugely important existing resource. By updating and optimising it for future research, we can drive the highest quality asthma research to deliver benefits to patients.

Contact us to find out more about this national real world evidence dataset

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