Category: Health policy

Project SAPPHIRE: Making the most of precious health data

By Joshua Symons, Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s Big Data Analytical Unit

Patient data is precious. It’s a resource that many researchers and clinicians use to improve healthcare and therefore the lives of patients and health professionals. That’s why we want to make sure it’s used in a way that’s both effective and safe.

Why patient engagement matters

By Dr Lisa Aufegger, IGHI Research Associate

Patient engagement has become a key priority in today’s health and care systems. And some have argued it’s essential for the sustainability of the NHS.

Patient engagement (PE), the involvement of patients in their medical process, is not a new concept. It first appeared in the late 80s, when the US Food and Drug Administration brought together patients, government, industry, and academia to identify and remove barriers to successful HIV drug and treatment development. Since then, PE activities have blossomed across clinical and non-clinical areas, and generated meaningful insight into and impact on quality improvement in healthcare service and delivery.

Does access to electronic health records by patients improve quality and safety of care?

By Dr Ana Luisa Neves, Research Fellow at the Imperial NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.

Over the last decade, incentives to adopt electronic health records have spread worldwide. Electronic health records offer many advantages, including an easier access to centralised health information by healthcare providers, patients and researchers, ultimately leading to a better coordination of patient care, greater efficiency, and better health outcomes.

Taking part in the UHC conversation

By Dr Ryan Li, Adviser, Imperial College London, Global Health and Development Group

Universal health coverage is about ensuring all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship. No one should have to choose between good health and other life necessities.

As part of World Health Day, Dr Ryan Li from the Global Health & Development Group who is an advisor for the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI), which supports countries to get the best value for money from health spending, reflects on a visit to Vietnam and the principles for developing clinical quality standards in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs):

I remember very vividly two of the hospitals I visited in Vietnam, during my first field trip as a global health advisor for iDSI.

The IGHI Big Data Analytical Unit 2017 – year in review

By Joshua Symons, BDAU, Centre for Health Policy, Institute of Global Health Innovation 

2017 has been a very busy year for the Big Data and Analytical Unit (BDAU). High level accomplishments in data security and researcher outreach have led the BDAU to become one of the most secure and recognised analytic platforms for healthcare data at Imperial.

In May of 2017, the BDAU Secure Environment (SE) became the first ISO 27001:2013 (figure 1) and NHS IG Toolkit 100% Level 3 (figure 2) certified research environment in Imperial College. Over the course of 2017, the BDAU SE was successful in completing a further 11 internal and external audits.

Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics

By Dr Timothy Rawson, Clinical Research Fellow, Esmita Charani, Senior Lead Pharmacist and Dr Enrique Castro Sanchez, Academic Research Nurse all from the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Antibiotics are a powerful resource that allows us to safely perform surgery, treat cancer with chemotherapy, and recover from infections that over 100 years ago would have killed even the fittest among us.

We are seeing however, a dramatic increase in infections with bacteria resistant to the killing effects of antibiotics (termed drug-resistant infections). These are antibiotics that until recently used to be effective. These resistant bacteria make many infections more and more difficult to treat – in some cases causing patients to die because we no longer have antibiotics that are able to manage the infection.

Using the evidence-based approach to better antibiotic stewardship

By Chris Bird, MSc Health Policy student at Imperial College and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at NICE

This week marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the theme of which is to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development in our world today. Antibiotic resistance leads to high medical costs, prolonged hospital stays and increased mortality.

It’s a subject brought home to me as I was lucky enough to study my MSc in the very same historic buildings at St Mary’s Hospital where Alexander Fleming first discovered the miracle of penicillin.

Antibiotic resistance is a true global health issue

By guest blogger, Paul Kiet Tang, Senior Assistant Editor at The Lancet*

Since its discovery and widespread use, antibiotics have been marvelled as a panacea that has revolutionised modern day medicine. Routine surgical procedures, childbirth, and open wounds are no longer associated with high risks of mortality from infections. However, the overuse and misuse of these drugs have led to increased concerns of antibiotic resistance worldwide, with up to 700,000 people dying globally from antibiotic-resistant infections. In the final 2016 report of The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance from the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust, this incidence was projected to increase to 10 million people per year by 2050, costing the global economy up to 100 trillion US dollars and pushing about 28.3 million people into extreme poverty.

How health and voluntary sector services can work together collaboratively to improve health and wellbeing in later life

By IGHI guest blogger, Chris Bird, PG student in the Centre for Health Policy and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

In today’s fast moving world, we need to constantly adapt to keep up. But what about those people in later life who might struggle to do so?

We live in a world where society is ageing. Falling mortality rates, particularly in the over 65-year age group coupled with low fertility rates in the younger population are leading to a society which is growing older[i].It is also true that conventional care delivery is often based around admittance to institutionalised hospital care which is both costly and can be inefficient as professionals, bound by silo working, fail to achieve either best value or best care for patients[ii].