Science and Technology Select Committee Follows-Up on Trials Transparency

Last week, the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee convened an inquiry following-up their previous clinical trials transparency efforts. The Select Committee has been very active in the trials transparency space over the past two years. Earlier this year they sent letters to every public university and NHS trust in the UK that sponsors clinical trials on the EU register. These letters reminded sponsors of their trial reporting responsibilities and provided them with reporting performance figures based on data from our EU TrialsTracker.

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OpenPrescribing Newsletter October 2019

New Paper in BMJ Our newest paper is now out in the BMJ! Here we show huge variation in adoption of warranted changes in prescribing behaviour, using some exciting new openly available change detection methods. New measures We now have over 80 measures! This month we have launched a range of new measures. As always, measures are prioritised on your dashboard by potential for improvement so you can quickly and easily spot where your organisation is an outlier.

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OpenPathology: Issues with reference ranges - Part 3

This is the third instalment in our series of commentaries on using reference ranges to interpret pathology test results. Reference ranges vary between labs Classically, the reference range is defined statistically: it is the interval within which 95% of the values of a healthy reference population fall into. Therefore 2.5% of the time, healthy people will have (for example) haemoglobin concentrations less than the lower limit, and 2.5% of the time it will be over the upper limit.

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OpenPathology: Issues with Reference Ranges — Part 2

This is the second installment in our series of commentaries on reference ranges used to interpret pathology test results. Here we describe two issues relating to how meaningful reference ranges are. Reference ranges are usually indicators of statistical outliers in a healthy reference population The most common type of reference range is defined as the interval between which 95% of the values of a healthy reference population fall into. In other words, 2.

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OpenPathology: Issues with reference ranges — Part 1

As the OpenPathology project has progressed, we have started to build measures to describe variation between practices, and groups of practices. While comparing rates of requests per head of population can be used as a simple measure of possible over- or under-use of tests compared to other practices, it doesn’t take into account the general health needs of the population, so it can be difficult to rule out warranted variation. Therefore, comparing variation in rates of abnormal results is another useful measure to consider.

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OpenPathology: fake seasonality in potassium results — dangerous and avoidable

In our initial analyses of pathology data from the South West for our OpenPathology.net project, there is a pronounced (sometimes extreme) increase in high potassium results during the winter months, and a corresponding increase in low-potassium results in summer: What’s causing it? The level of potassium in plasma within a blood sample is affected by temperature. Potassium can move into and out of blood cells during storage: in cooler temperatures, potassium diffuses out of cells into plasma, leading to the reading being artefactually higher, while in higher temperatures an enzyme works to pump potassium into the cells.

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OpenPathology: Seasonality in Haemoglobin test results

In our initial analyses of pathology data from the South West for our OpenPathology.net project, we have noticed subtle but consistent variation in haemoglobin test results throughout the year. Haemoglobin (Hb) levels falling below certain threshold values typically give a diagnosis of anaemia. In the following regional sample we see that the mean Hb concentration across both males and females differs by 2-3 g/l between the summer low and the winter peak:

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New Measure — Inhalers and the Environment

At the Bennett Institute we regularly collaborate on projects, both small and large, with users who get in touch. For development of this measure we would like to thank the NHS England Sustainable Unit and Centre for Sustainable Healthcare for their input on our work to support the NHS Long Term Plan. Another one of our collaborators on this work is Nicola Read, a respiratory doctor who is currently one of the National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellows.

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New Measure: Seven Day Prescribing for Long-term Conditions

This week we launched a new measure of seven day prescription for medicines used to treat long-term conditions. There is no current consensus on duration of prescription across the NHS and prescribers are advised that they should write a prescription for a duration that is clinically appropriate. For medicines that are for stable long-term conditions many areas have policies in place recommending one, two, or three month prescriptions. What are Medicines Compliance Aids?

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