Success for CLAHRC researcher Meredith Hawking

Congratulations were in order for CLAHRC researcher Meredith Hawking after her poster won a prize at the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Academic Primary Care at the Barbican Centre, London.

Meredith with her winning poster

The prestigious SAPC event brings together researchers and educators from the primary care community in the UK and around the world to showcase their latest studies.

Meredith is based at Queen Mary University of London and her PhD focuses on Investigating patients’ perspectives and adherence to anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition affecting a million people in the UK that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. AF is associated with 1 in 8 strokes (1 in 3 over 80 years). More than half these strokes could be averted by oral anticoagulants (OAC), but the proportion of patients receiving oral anticoagulants has improved by only 1.5% per year over the last 25 years and was only 50% in 2012.

Meredith’s poster- entitled Adherence to direct oral anticoagulants for non-valvular atrial fibrillation in real world settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis – outlines her work to explore how widespread nonadherenece to anticoagulants is.

Pulse checks in over 65s sees major improvements in the detection of atrial fibrillation

New CLAHRC research highlights a simple intervention that could improve detection of atrial fibrillation (AF) – a potentially dangerous heart condition affecting a million people in the UK and associated with 1 in 8 strokes (1 in 3 strokes among those aged over 80 years).

East London GP and CLAHRC researcher Dr John Robson led an investigation into the impact of regular pulse checks in general practice on AF detection among patients aged 65 and over. This work, published in the British Journal of General Practice, offers evidence that these checks – a cheap and straightforward intervention – rapidly improved the detection and prevalence of AF, meaning quicker access to treatment and reduced risk of stoke for those diagnosed.

The condition causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate and is a leading cause of stroke – with strokes caused by underlying AF twice as likely to be fatal. AF is common in older people, but often shows no symptoms – meaning earlier detection and access to treatment means reduced risk of stroke and the health problems stroke victims have to live with afterwards.

Dr Robson and his team checked historical GP records to investigate the impact of a programme promoting pulse regularity checks across three groups of East London GP practices (or Clinical Commissioning Groups) –  City and Hackney, Newham, and Tower Hamlets.

An analysis of electronic primary care patient records before (2007–2012) and after (2012–2017) checks were introduced showed significant increases in AF detection.

Br J Gen Pract. 2018 Jun;68(671):e388-e393. doi: 10.3399/bjgp18X696605
Opportunistic pulse checks in primary care to improve recognition of atrial fibrillation: a retrospective analysis of electronic patient records.
Cole J, Torabi P, Dostal I, Homer K, Robson J

Conference success for CLAHRC PhD Marissa Mes

CLAHRC North Thames PhD Marissa Mes enjoyed success at the prestigious Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUK CAR).

Marissa accepts her award from AUKCAR Director Professor Aziz Sheikh

Marissa won best poster presentation when she showcased her work to delegates during the conference (below)  – her research focus is assessing whether pharmacists are a suitable delivery channel for an intervention aimed at asthma patients to improve their adherence to preventer inhalers.

Marissa in action at the ASM

Our congratulations to Marissa on her prize.

Marissa’s fellow CLAHRC PhD Caroline Katzer, who is developing and evaluating an intervention to improve adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in adult asthma patients also showcased her work at the conference via both a poster and an oral presentation, which generated a lot of discussion, and was among those complimented on the quality of her presentations.

 

 

Both PhDs are funded by the CLAHRC and affiliated to AUKCAR.

Changing behaviour to improve adherence to asthma medication

CLAHRC behaviour change researchers and PhDs Caroline Katzer and Marissa Mes were a big hit at the recent in ESPACOMP conference in Budapest Hungary. Caroline and Marissa presented to an audience of clinicians and allied health professionals interested in adherence

ESPACOMP (European Society for Patient Adherence, COMpliance and Persistence) promotes science concerned with the assessment of what patients do with medicines they have been prescribed – and the implications when they adhere, or don’t adhere to them. Their 2017 conference brought together behaviour change practitioners and researchers from across the world and both Marissa and Caroline’s presentation generated much interest and a host of questions from the audience.

Both Caroline and Marissa are conducting their PhDs as as part of our wider work examining the effectiveness of  the ‘Perceptions and Practicalities Intervention’ (PAPI) in improving adherence to asthma medication.

 

Marissa (above) is investigating the effectiveness of pharmacists as the delivery channel of a theory-based intervention to support medication adherence in adults with asthma.

Caroline is focusing her PhD on developing the PAPI intervention to support adherence to maintenance treatment in adult asthma patients.

Both fielded questions from pharmacists interested in how their research/academic findings were going to be translated into pharmacy practice, and how feasible this would be.

How can we all best use scientific evidence?

Media coverage of the use of statins to prevent cardiovascular disease, of Tamiflu to treat flu and of the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer have opened up public debate about medical and scientific claims.

CLAHRC researcher and leader of our behaviour change theme Professor Rob Horne (pictured below) has helped produce new resources for professionals and patients to improve the way evidence about medicines is communicated.

Professor Horne is part of a prestigious Oversight Group within the Academy of Medical Sciences looking at how scientific evidence around medicines can best be communicated and understood.

Their report entitled Enhancing the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines aims to address problems that can arise from poor-quality evidence about medicines, or misrepresentation or misperception of evidence.

The report and associated resources will help health professionals to improve the use of scientific evidence to judge the potential benefits and harms of medicines. This will lead to better, more informed conversations between professional and patient about the benefits and risks of prescribing (or not prescribing) a particular medicine.

Other resources produced as part of this work include a pocket guide for patients entitled Helping you decide whether to take a medicine