In our second full year of existence we produced even more exciting outputs and continued to grow. You can see the team on our website: Emma-Jane has been our project manager since the Spring; we have two new part-time coders working for us; and researchers Alex, Nick, Daniel and Karolina all started this year. We’ve delivered a range of great new features on OpenPrescribing, got great progress on numerous pre-launch projects, and have a nice portfolio of papers submitted.

There are now 56 measures on, several of them created in response to feedback from users. We’ve helped the NHS find millions of pounds of prescribing savings with our new Price per Unit tool. We have improved our email alerts with a new statistical process that lets you know if you have changed in relation to other CCGs/practices, and we are sending out over 700 per month. We have a new Drug Tariff explorer, which includes Price Concessions which have caused a dramatic increase in spend on prescription medication in the last few months. There is a long term trends tracker showing prescribing behaviour back to 1998. We have implemented a much-requested feature on the analyse page that allows you to explore the number of prescriptions without a denominator; and you can also watch the time trends over time as an animation.

We have submitted several academic papers on interesting prescribing patterns and explaining how we made some of the new tools: many are accepted and in press, others under review. As you will see from many of our blog posts on new tools and analyses, we have also begun posting most of our papers to preprint servers, in order to work around journal delays. Make sure you sign up to our Newsletter to keep up to date with all the coming developments!

Research Integrity

The Research Integrity team has been hard at work on a number of exciting projects. We published a look at the trials transparency policies of pharmaceutical companies in the BMJ, with an accompanying website that allows anyone to view the commitments. Our paper and site on non-industry sponsors’ policies is currently under peer review. We plan to update both audits in the coming year, so keep an eye on the website to see any improvements in sponsors’ performance.

We’ve also worked with the WHO on a number of projects, helped out on a WHO joint-statement on trials transparency policies with funders, and helped develop and launch an Ebola vaccine trial tracker; there is much more to come on this shortly. We have a good small team on the Retractobot project, with all our data now in and cleaned; we are also running an RCT on the project, so expect to see the protocol shortly. In addition, we have a research paper on conflicts of interest among UK NHS doctors that has just been accepted for publication. We also have a range of Trials Transparency Trackers complete, and awaiting launch when their accompanying research papers are published.

Policy Work

Alongside all of this we have been putting our ideas into action in the policy community, with numerous meetings in Whitehall with senior civil servants, policymakers, Select Committees, and organisations such as the NHS National Information Board.


All round, we think our core manifesto is proving to be a success: software engineers, clinicians, and academics, all working together to produce tools as well as academic papers. So keep an an eye out for a bevy of new trackers, tools and papers in the new year! Onward!