The NHS National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network is using a new business intelligence system to improve its health trials.

The NIHR is using the QlikView Business Discovery platform to consolidate data and improve the performance of the clinical research it supports. The NIHR says the platform is being used to harness existing study data so "more educated decisions can be made about the placement and management of studies", based on key factors such as patient populations and clinical expertise.

Over 630,000 people have been recruited to studies supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network in 2012-13 alone, and it is regarded as the "research delivery arm" for the NHS in England. It generates huge amounts of data but all study performance data can now be viewed within the Open Data Platform (ODP) - a system built upon QlikView technology - where it is analysed.

The network can now ensure research studies are being delivered as "efficiently as possible, meeting time and target criteria set out for each study", said the NIHR

Available on mobile devices, network information can be shared to "demonstrate the improved performance of clinical research in the NHS", the NIHR said.

One example of efficient working using ODP on QlikView is showing where trained diabetes nurses are based, and then this information being used by the team to recommend the most appropriate location for running effective diabetes research in the NHS.

Richard Corbridge, CIO at the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: "It makes sense to channel various streams of data for enhanced performance management. Our Open Data Platform has already helped us to make discoveries around the way our research is managed, so we can run trials in the most effective fashion."

He added: "We're so pleased with the results so far that we're using them to set an example for similar organisations. Crucially, it is helping us to turn data into information that enables insight and delivers business intelligence."