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Showing posts from May, 2010

Using email to support health promotion in healthcare

A recent article by Helen Atherton, Christopher Huckvale and Josip Car in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare discussed the use of email in healthcare. The use of email as a method of transferring information between clinicians and patients is increasing. For example, email is now commonly used for the management of appointments and to provide test results. The widespread availability and use of email by the public creates opportunities for people to participate more actively in their own health care. One common use of email to support this is its use by primary care physicians to provide patients with additional information about disease prevention and health promotion, and thus reinforce the messages given during the consultation. The article confirmed that the use of email in healthcare developing rapidly, but also found that the evidence base to support the use of email is not well established, and that better research was needed if we are to maximise the benefits of this tec…

Geographical planning of primary care in England

A recent article in the journal Primary Health Care Research & Development By Edgar Samarasundera and colleagues discusses the use of socio-demographic data sources for monitoring local health profiles and for use in the geographical planning of primary health care in England. The article updates an older paper published in the BMJ in 1995.

There is an increasing range of resources available for geographical analyses in health. The 2001 census introduced important changes to what routine data are available, as will the 2011 census. These changes have been paralleled by developments in the availability of socio-demographic indicators and the increasing popularity of geographic information systems. Health data can now be combined with those from socio-demographic more efficiently to produce value-added datasets.

Recent and planned developments in the availability of both socio-demographic datasets in tandem with parallel developments in spatial technologies have provided a flexible,…

Scientific workflows for primary care database studies

A scientific workflow is a method in computer science for formulating abstract descriptions of analytical processes. This allows automation and reuse of many of the tasks in analysing large, complex data sets. A recent article in the journal Statistical Methods in Medical Research discussed the use of these scientific workflows for the analysis of data from large primary care databases.

Routinely collected primary care data in electronic repositories are a promising source of data for audits, quality improvement, health service planning, epidemiological studies and research. However, a number of challenges have been noted about working with these data sets. In the paper, we discuss these issues and describe how we used scientific workflows to analyse data from one large primary care database (GPRD). Some of the steps in the analysis of data from the GPRD our shown in the figure below.

Improving pharmacovigilance using routinely collected data

In a recent BMJ editorial, Nicholas Moore and Bernard Begaud outline initiatives to improve pharmacovigilance in Europe. Such initiatives are essential to improving the safety of healthcare because current approaches to detection of serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) have major limitations. Serious adverse drug reactions are often too rare to be detected in early clinical trials, and may not be detected through post-marketing surveillance for many years. This delay in identifying adverse drug reactions leaves clinicians unaware about the potential risks of the drugs they are prescribing, puts patients at risk of iatrogenic harm, and increases both healthcare costs and the costs of drug development.

The development of databases derived from electronic patient records and hospital administration systems could help to improve the detection of adverse drug reactions. In England, these databases include the General Practice Research Database (GPRD), The Health Improvement Network (THIN…

Imperial College Publications Page

I am sometimes asked where a list of my academic publications can be found? Details of my publications can be found on my Imperial College Publications Page. This is updated automatically - at regular intervals, a search of the PubMed and other bibliographic databases is carried out and any publications with an author matching my details are flagged for me to decide whether they are included on the page. The advantage of using this page to view my list of publications - rather than a PubMed search - is that there are other authors with similar details to me. Hence, a PubMed search will include publications from other authors and not just those which are mine.