Map of technology and data in health and care

The Kings Fund has published ‘Map of technology and data in health and care’.

Kings Fund map of technology
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This interactive map brings together case studies from across England and the rest of world, highlighting some of the places that are experimenting with and implementing new technologies to achieve better health outcomes or more efficient care.

The map is not a comprehensive listing of all such projects – it is limited to case studies featured in The King’s Fund publications and events, plus the NHS test bed sites set up to evaluate the real-world impact of new technologies.

Read more here

The Battle for Breath – the impact of lung disease in the UK

British Lung Foundation. Published online: June 2016

Image source: BLF

The Battle for Breath examines the overall extent and impact of lung disease across the UK. It also takes a closer look at the impact of 15 major lung conditions.

The new report is a valuable resource for policymakers, researchers, health care providers and more.

It explains in detail our new findings, and the changes that need to be made to tackle them.

Key findings

  • Lung disease is one of the top three killer diseases in the UK
  • 115,000 people a year die from lung disease – 1 person every 5 minutes
  • Mortality figures are roughly the same as 10 years ago, yet heart disease has fallen 15%
  • 1 in 5 people in the UK have been diagnosed with a lung disease
  • Every day, 1,500 new people are diagnosed with a lung disease
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Image source: BLF

Read the full report here

Is beer good for the brain?

ScienceDaily. Published online: 1 June 2016

beer-1290633_960_720While most people will agree that excessive consumption of alcohol can have a detrimental effect on the brain, there is less agreement regarding the effects of light or moderate drinking. This includes concern and controversy surrounding the effects of drinking on the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s (AD). This study investigated the association between consumption of different alcoholic beverages — beer, wine, and spirits — and one of the neuropathological signs of Alzheimer’s disease, β-amyloid (Aβ) aggregation in the brain.

Researchers examined data from 125 males participating in the Helsinki sudden death autopsy series, who at the time of death were 35 to 70 years old. Consumption of alcohol, Aβ aggregation in the brain, and apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype were assessed. Surviving relatives answered a questionnaire used to gather the drinking history of the deceased, and Aβ was observed by immunohistochemical staining of brain sections.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research abstract here

Making evidence based medicine work for individual patients

McCartney, M. et al. BMJ. 2016. 353:i2452

A Google Scholar search using the term “evidence based medicine” identifies more than 1.8 million papers. Over more than two decades, evidence based medicine has rightfully become part of the fabric of modern clinical practice and has contributed to many advances in healthcare.

But many clinicians and patients have expressed dissatisfaction with the way evidence based medicine has been applied to individuals, especially in primary care.1 There is concern that guidelines intended to reduce variation and improve the quality of care have instead resulted in medicine becoming authoritarian and bureaucratic.2 Evidence generated from large populations has been distilled into large numbers of lengthy and technically complex guidelines. Guidelines in turn have been used to create financial incentive schemes such as the UK’s Quality and Outcomes Framework, whereby a substantial proportion of general practice income depends on achieving thresholds for drug therapy or surrogate outcomes in accordance with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines. Not only do these thresholds exceed the limits of the evidence for many people but they also encourage clinicians to ignore the need to elicit and respect the preferences and goals of patients.

Read the full article here

Related podcast:


Julian Treadwell, Neal Maskrey and Richard Lehman join us in the studio to argue that new models of evidence synthesis and shared decision making are needed to accelerate a move from guideline driven care to individualised care.

Dementia and comorbidities

Dementia Rarely Travels Alone: living with dementia and other conditions | Alzheimers Society

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A report on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia’s inquiry that was held last year in to dementia and comorbidities. The inquiry has brought to light the scale of difficulty faced by people living with dementia and other health conditions.

Despite significant progress to deliver integrated care services and support, the health and social system frequently treats conditions in isolation so that people with dementia and other health conditions receive disjointed, substandard care and treatment.

The report identifies the changes needed across the healthcare system so that the NHS can meet the challenge of caring for people living with dementia and other conditions, supporting them to live fulfilled lives and makes recommendations as to how this can be achieved.

View the full report: Dementia  Rarely Travels Alone: living with dementia and other conditions

Statistics on Smoking, England – 2016

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This statistical report presents a range of information on smoking which is drawn together from a variety of sources. The report aims to present a broad picture of health issues relating to smoking in England and covers topics such as smoking prevalence, habits, behaviours and attitudes among adults and school children, smoking-related ill health and mortality and smoking-related costs.

The topics covered include:

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Part 1: Smoking patterns in adults

Part 2: Smoking patterns in children

Part 3: Availability and affordability of tobacco

Part 4: Behaviour and attitudes to smoking

Part 5: Smoking-related costs, ill health and mortality

Each part provides an overview of the key findings on these topics, as well as providing links to sources of further information and relevant documents.

The future of public services: digital patients

This report highlights the important role app and wearable technology will play in healthcare. It finds that the emergence of wearable and app technology in healthcare presents policymakers with an unprecedented opportunity to engage patients in their own healthcare. It concludes that, if care teams had access to user-generated data, it could enrich their understanding of the patient and how best to manage their condition.

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Read the full report: The future of public services: digital patients.

Watch the interview with researcher William Mosseri-Marlio below:

Lung cancer survival rate increases by 73 percent if caught early

The UK Lung cancer screening trial has demonstrated that patients with a high risk of developing lung cancer can be identified with early stage disease and have up to a 73 percent chance of surviving for five years or more. | via Science Daily

B0007212 Lung cancer cells
Image shows Lung cancer cells. Anne Weston, LRI, CRUK. Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The UK Lung cancer screening trial (UKLS) has been successfully completed and demonstrated that patients with a high risk of developing lung cancer can be identified with early stage disease and have up to a 73% chance of surviving for five years or more. The UKLS trial was conducted by experts in the University of Liverpool.

The UKLS was undertaken in partnership with Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital, Papworth Hospital and the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital with the aim of highlighting the need for a screening programme to help benefit people who are at risk of developing lung cancer.

The results of the UKLS trial provide further evidence for the UK National Screening Committee (UKNSC) to consider when making a decision whether to implement a national screening programme in the UK in the future.

Funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme the trial was the first and only lung cancer screening trial to take place in the UK and has provided in depth information on how to set up a national lung cancer CT screening programme, including using a risk prediction model to identify high risk individuals in the population.

Read more from Science Daily here

Link to the research: Field, J.K. et. al.  The UK Lung Cancer Screening Trial: a pilot randomised controlled trial of low-dose computed tomography screening for the early detection of lung cancer. Health Technology Assessment, 2016; 20 (40): 1

Discharging older patients from hospital

The National Audit Office has published Discharging older patients from hospital.  The report finds that the health and social care system’s management of discharging older patients from hospital does not represent value for money. The spending watchdog estimates that the gross annual cost to the NHS of treating older patients in hospital who no longer need to receive acute clinical care is in the region of £820 million.  The report highlights that, while some efforts to rectify the situation have been made, an ageing population and an increase in older people being admitted to hospital requires there to be a step change in performance to resolve the problem.

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Additional links: BBC News report    Healthwatch

Related: Kings Fund Blog:  David Oliver looks at the findings of the new National Audit Office report and considers why hospitals are still failing to discharge older people in a timely way. Why is it more difficult than ever for older people to leave hospital?

Suicide by children and young people in England

Bereavement, bullying, exams and physical health conditions such as acne and asthma are some of the experiences linked to suicide in children and young people according to a new report by The University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH).

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Researchers studied the reports from a range of investigations and inquiries on 130 people under the age of 20 in England who died by suicide between January 2014 and April 2015, extracting information about their personal circumstances that the reports highlighted. This is the first time there has been a national study of suicide in children and young people in England on this scale.

The researchers found that 28% of the young people who died had been bereaved, in 13% there had been a suicide by a family member or friend. 36% had a physical health condition such as acne or asthma, and 29% were facing exams or exam results when they died. Four died on the day of an exam, or the day after.

The full report is available to download here

An infographic summary of the report can be downloaded here

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