Professor Colin McCowan, of the University of St Andrews, will lead a £1 million initiative for Health Data Research UK to build a new national data resource to learn more about people suffering from more than one disease or condition.
Medical researchers at St Andrews will lead a consortium across 16 higher education institutions across the UK on the project which will bring together anonymised information on over 10m people.
The data will be used to find out more about what diseases and conditions are found together, how they develop as people get older and which of them cause the most problems for people and the health service.
Colin McCowan, Professor of Health Data Science at St Andrews, said: “People are living longer but it is now common for them to have more than one disease or condition, which we call multimorbidity.
“However, the exact scale of multimorbidity is difficult to understand because of the many ways that people try to measure it. We know that different groups of people may have different levels and types of multimorbidity so it is important to look at large populations to determine the number of people affected.
“This information will allow us to explore multimorbidity in the UK at a scale never done before. Working with members of the public researchers will explore what diseases and conditions to look at and how to identify them using existing data.
“This will allow researchers and health care workers to better plan how to deliver care to people with various types of multimorbidities.”