Technical overview

Please note a full technical description paper was published in 2016 and is available via the BRISSKit community website.

BRISSkit was developed to run on a virtual infrastructure, initially based at the University of Leicester and at Glenfield Hospital, then later at a national level. At its heart are two main existing types of software; data warehousing and data capture. The relationship between the different pieces of software is illustrated in the figure below.

Technical overview Illustration of the relationship between the different aspects of the software stack.

i2b2 -Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside

A key component to the software stack is the data warehousing software i2b2. It is developed by the US National Center for Biomedical Computing based at Partners Healthcare Systems / Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA ( By running two instances of this - one inside the hospital, the other outside - we collected sensitive patient data inside then push anonymised data to the other. This allowed external researchers access to a potentially huge data set.


One of the routes that patient data can take into the data warehouse is via electronic questionnaires. Onyx ( and REDCap ( are two different solutions that allow the direct capture of this data which is then stored in a database.

A significant effort went into developing software to make the various elements interface with one another.

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