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UKCRC Health Research Classification System

Assigning health categories

The strategic aim of coding is to capture the main health focus of the research taking place during the lifetime of the award and not the background or future potential downstream applications of the research (often referred to in the first or last sentence(s) in the abstract). Diseases or conditions that may be listed within the background information or are listed as ‘being relevant’ to the study under investigation should not be included in the coding.

Use the minimum number of codes to reflect the main focus of the research, while a maximum of five categories can be applied if a number of different areas of health or disease are included in the study. These should be equally apportioned unless clearly stated otherwise in the abstract e.g. two categories should be apportioned 50% each, three categories 33.33% each etc.

The Generic Health Relevance category should be used in cases where the research is applicable to all diseases and condtions or to general health and wellbeing or directly applicable to more than five categories. If the main focus of the research is directed at several specified diseases and also has implications for many other conditions / general health, the appropriate specific categories should be used as well as applying the Generic Health Relevance category. See our guidance on case studies, exemplars and tracer conditions and sequelae, consequences and side effects for more details.

Also note that the Disputed Aetiology and Other category is rarely used and only in specific circumstances.

Health Categories should not be assigned to reflect mechanisms of pathogenesis or the site of a disease. Choose the Health Category associated with the purpose of the investigation or the overarching main disease. Many diseases and conditions share characteristics of more than one area of health (e.g. asthma is a respiratory disease and is also an autoimmune disease) and research may focus on a particular organ affected by a disease (e.g. pulmonary hypertension). However to ensure accurate and consistent coding it is important to follow the specific inclusion criteria listed in the Health Categories.

e.g. asthma is coded as 100% Respiratory and should not be coded to Inflammatory and Immune System.

e.g. pulmonary hypertension is classified 100% Cardiovascular and not Respiratory.