Helping the NHS visualise complex referral data

The NHS generates huge amounts of data but using it to track patient flow and pathways of care requires sophisticated mathematical modelling. CLAHRC PhD student, Ryan Palmer, is “embedded” within one of our partner organisations – North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) – where part of his work involves offering support and guidance to managers and staff interested in getting the most out of the data they routinely collect.

An example of Ryan’s visualisation of referral patterns between hospital and community services in a busy NHS Trust.

Ryan ran a successful workshop hosted by our research partners NELFT training healthcare professionals how to use network mapping methods for understanding referral data in community healthcare. Care leads who attended came from a range of healthcare disciplines and services, including paediatrics, adult physical health, mental health services and social care.

The two-hour session involved: how to prepare data, how to create network diagrams and the beginnings of discussions as to how these methods may be used to inform service planning. Interest was generated during the session, with many realising the benefits of these methods.

Visualising referral data helps researchers and care managers to work together and understand otherwise overwhelming and hard to interpret data for complex systems. These network maps highlight important characteristics of referral activity and can help identify services that exhibit interesting dynamics. Sharing this work with healthcare professionals, they helped to stimulate further conversations around the analysis and organisation of referrals in community healthcare services.

Our collaborators are currently seeking to implement a single point access (SPA) for older adult community services. This session formed part of the ongoing work with our collaborators to help inform their thinking in designing this SPA.

Memory study poster is award winning!

Research Assistant Moïse Roche enjoyed success at the recent prestigious Health Services Research UK conference in Nottingham.

A poster outlining Moise’s work, as part of our Improving care of people with memory problems in Black African and Caribbean groups study won the People’s Poster Prize at the event – as voted by attendees.

Congratulations to Moïse!

Standards for public involvement in research – have your say

The National Institute for Health Research are asking for comments and ideas on some draft standards for involving people in research.

Help us improve draft national standards for public involvement in research

Invitation to review and improve draft national standards for public involvement in research

Consultation: draft national standards for public involvement in research

During 2016/17, Health and Care Research Wales, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Chief Scientist Office in Scotland and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland have been working with public contributors as the ‘Public Involvement Standards Development Partnership’. The Partnership is developing a set of national, core standards and indicators for public involvement (PI) in research that can be used by organisations, research projects and individuals to improve the quality and consistency of PI.

Here is a summary of the steps we have taken so far and our plans for future work.

As you can see, we would now like to involve you in reviewing and giving us feedback on the draft standards and indicators. Do they capture what good public involvement in research looks like from your perspective?  Will they be of practical use to you? What have we missed out? How can we improve them?

The consultation is running from 29th June 2017 to 1st September 2017. Please visit the project website for more detailed information about the consultation process and to access all the resources you might need:

 https://sites.google.com/nihr.ac.uk/pi-standards/consultation

If you have any questions or queries about the consultation please contact the PPI team at the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility:

Email: ccfppi@nihr.ac.uk  Telephone: 020 8843 8041

 

Celebrating applied health research in London

July 4th saw more than 100 policymakers, clinicians, researchers, representatives from charities, and patients and service users gathered at the House of Lords to celebrate the important applied health research being undertaken across London.

Combined CLAHRC teams at the House of Lords

All of the research showcased at the event took place within the three NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in London – CLAHRCs South London, North Thames and Northwest London, with the event led by CLAHRC South London.

After a welcome from Lord Nigel Crisp, former chief executive of the NHS, there were some opening remarks. Nick Moberly, chief executive at King’s College Hospital and co-chair of the CLAHRC South London Board, outlined the unique strengths of the CLAHRC partnership model.

Professor Jo Martin (below) from CLAHRC North Thames, an honorary consultant at Barts Health NHS Trust and professor of pathology at Queen Mary University of London, spoke about the depth of applied health research expertise in London, and its impact on health services across the country.


Finally, Sandra Jayacodi, a patient team member in northwest London, spoke about the life-changing impact of being involved in a project to improve the physical health of people with serious mental illness.

Guests were then invited to find out more about CLAHRC research at four themed areas – mental and physical wellbeing, improving health and wellbeing through primary care, tackling the capital’s health challenges, and building research capacity and education.

CLAHRC North Thames projects represented reflected the scope of our research work – Dr Charlotte Woodhead showcased our research evaluating the impact of locating welfare advice in GP surgeries on patients’ health and demand for NHS services; Professor Chris Griffiths explained how the Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) programme is improving the response to domestic violence and abuse by NHS services; and Professor Jonathan Grigg presented our work to reducing asthma admissions using a school-based intervention

Our Academy Lead Professor Naomi Fulop outlined our capacity building activities alongside Academy lecturer Dr Victoria Newton.

Professor Rosalind Raine, director of CLAHRC North Thames, said: ‘The event was a brilliant example of collaboration between the CLAHRCs. We’ve had lots of positive feedback from attendees, and there is a real sense of support for creating the long-term infrastructure to ensure that applied health research can meet the significant health challenges of the future.’

Podcast – A call for increased paediatric palliative care research: Identifying barriers

Palliative care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and life-threatening illnesses is a relatively new discipline, and one where current practice in services has developed beyond the evidence base available. Barriers to conducting research in this area are numerous, and span the entire length of the research process.

CLAHRC researchers from the BRAVES project, based at the Louis Dundas Centre, are working to identify these barriers to recruiting children with life-limiting conditions to research, and to develop solutions.

“Establishing robust evidence is going to require concerted effort on everyone’s part: clinicians, parents, patients, and researchers.”

Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner, principal investigator on the BRAVES project, has recently recorded a podcast with the journal Palliative Medicine, discussing the need for an increased understanding of barriers to research in paediatric palliative care, findings from the project so far, and outlining the future research planned by the team. 

Initial findings from the study, and previous work at the Louis Dundas Centre, have suggested that fundamental barriers exist at both the individual level, e.g. clinicians’ attitudes to involving young people in research, as well as at the institutional level, e.g. ethics committees and resource constraints, even though children and young people want to participate in research.

 “So, why, if we no longer accept paternalism in clinical practice, are we willing to accept it, indeed demur to it, in research practice?

The overall goal of the BRAVES project is to develop guidance based on the experience of all stakeholders, which in turn will help to develop the evidence base in the field of paediatric palliative care.

Based on the findings outlined in the podcast, the research team has since conducted a study investigating the experiences and difficulties of chief investigators recruiting children and young people with life-limiting conditions and life-threatening illnesses to research. The findings from this study are expected to be published soon. The next step for the CLAHRC researchers is to analyse data collected from a nationwide research groups’ applications to Research Ethics Committees, and to interview members of these committees to develop further insights.

Click here to read the journal article on which this podcast is based.

New short course for 2017! Becoming Research Active

Our CLAHRC Academy is running a new short course in 2017, in collaboration with the Research Design Service London (east London arm) and Clinical Research Network North Thames.

Held on Thursday 12 October 2017, Becoming Research Active – what does it involve and where do I start? is an introductory level course for nurses, allied health professionals, public health and local government members of staff who are interested in research.

As a first step towards becoming “research active”, by the end of the course attendees will be able to understand the research process and will have produced an action plan for taking their research idea forward.

For more details on the workshop, including how to apply,

please visit our events page.