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CLAHRC Wessex research teams continue valuable work right through to October 2019

4 June 2018

It's an exciting time for the research teams working at the CLAHRC Wessex. With more than 80 research projects completed or near completion the teams have been given further funding to work on a further 17 news research studies until Autumn 2019.

These projects combine the expertise and experience of our researchers working across the University of Southampton and the NHS.

Research into ageing and dementia is looking at how online and digital guides, tools and information can help with improving diagnosis and care for people with dementia. Teams are also examining how other people with long term neurological conditions can benefit from care plans linked to their digital health records.

Following on from the success of mealtime volunteers supporting older patients in Southampton General Hospital, researchers led by Professor Helen Roberts are developing a tool kit to help other hospitals recruit volunteers and run a similar scheme. 

Our team working on how to improve the fundamental care of people in hospital are continuing their examination of the factors that influence medical staff and the care of patients. The team aims to share that information across the NHS to help better understand how to improve care for people.

Respiratory specialists are working with academics and our data science team to assess if an app and online tool called MyMHealth can be used successfully across the Wessex region and England to help people manage their long term or chronic health condition. The tool is being used to help people with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - a debilitating lung condition), asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Starting in Southampton with 200,000 people it will then spread across the region and England. MyMHealth is the only app and online tool of its kind being used in the NHS and it could improve lives for thousands of people.

Two projects are to look at serious threats to public health. Both are working with pharmacies to see how they can support the detection and treatment for people with Hepatitis C, and also how a simple test can help reduce our over reliance on antibiotics.

The team behind the development of an online social-networking tool called Genie are looking at new and innovative ways to use it to prevent unnecessary demand on hospital Emergency Departments. They are looking at how Genie can be used more widely in Southampton and the surrounding areas by working with charities, the local councils and research colleagues at the AHSN. There's more work too being done on how people can manage joint pain and how better information can support pregnant mums at risk of pre-eclampsia.

Other research projects include: finding ways to improve the way people recover from cancer treatment or a number of interlinked illnesses, analysing data from hospital emergency departments and modelling the health systems there to help managers improve care, and excitingly linking that to the possibility of a computer being able to predict episodes of high demand. That same team is also helping to create a map of demand for hip and knee surgery, a potential way to predict if someone with lung disease is likely to be admitted to hospital for an emergency.

All these projects are available to see on our website where there is more detail and a way to contact the researchers.

Overloaded A&Es – Have we got this all wrong? Dr Brad Keogh

Why do we need evidence? At a time when the NHS has limited resources and increases in demand for its services, it seems prudent to only make changes to the service once you are reasonably certain that what you might do may be in the interest of the patients and staff in the system. By enforcing top-down changes to services with little or no evidence of benefit to patients or staff we are using more of this precious resource for no clear benefit. As an engineer coming into the healthcare sector several years ago to do data analytics, it has always surprised me how few decisions in the management of NHS services are made with robust quantitative analysis. It is also a contrast to the evidence based decision making and protocols within medicine. My thought for you: “why can’t we have evidence based service management as well as evidence based medicine?“ read blog >

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