Category: Health policy

What’s it like to…work in health policy?

By Gianluca Fontana, Senior Policy Fellow and Director of Operations, Centre for Health Policy, IGHI

In my first job out of university, I was a management consultant. That led me to work on glamorous and intellectually stimulating activities such as figuring out how to distribute fresh fish in a supermarket display to maximise sales. But I’ve always had a passion for healthcare. So through the years, I was able to get myself involved with much more interesting projects.

Sharing healthcare data for better and safer care

By Dr Ana Luisa Neves, General Practitioner and IGHI Research Fellow

The promise of healthcare data is staggering – and now, we have the information and tools to use it effectively that we’ve never had before.

Electronic health records can contribute to making life-altering changes in patient education and treatment. We’re increasingly realising their potential as a powerful resource for researchers and policymakers. Applying big data analytics in electronic health datasets can help us better understand patient needs. We can identify underserved or excluded groups and therefore contribute to delivering safer, better, and more patient-centred care.

However, much still needs to be done to increase the availability of healthcare data before these goals can be realised.

What’s it like to study our Masters in Patient Safety?

Patient safety has become an important topic at all levels of the health system.

That’s why we launched our MSc in Patient Safety. The course was designed specifically to help policy makers and healthcare professionals deliver safer care and health systems. Since launching our unique Masters programme in 2016, we’ve had many graduates go on to successfully apply their learning in their careers, championing patient safety in their everyday work.

We spoke to three Patient Safety students, Joshua Symons, William Gage and Jeni Mwebaze to find out what made them choose the course, what they learnt and how they hope it will help them in their profession.

Why sharing leadership in healthcare matters

By Dr Lisa Aufegger, Research Associate

Alongside the inherent challenges of the job itself, working in acute healthcare teams comes with another layer of complexity.

On a regular basis, staff will interact with highly specialised professionals from across different disciplines. This means that team members such as anaesthetists, nurses and surgeons need a high level of shared understanding, not only in relation to their main objective but their roles and responsibilities, too.

Shared leadership (SL) – where leadership working relationships are distributed and team members’ unique roles defined – has been proposed as a way to foster effective team performance in such situations.

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.