Skip to main content Skip to navigation

WMG News

Select tags to filter on

WMG Associate Professor partners with leading health-tech company

Image of Dr Mark ElliottWMG’s Associate Professor Mark Elliott will be working alongside health tech experts at EQL, in a two year part-time secondment, focusing on the impact of digital health technology.

Dr Elliott was awarded funding through the UKRI Innovation Scholars Secondment: Biomedical Science scheme which aims to intensify knowledge exchange between industry and academia.

Dr Elliott explained: “I’m looking forward to working closely with the team at EQL. My previous research has always been on the academic side so this will give me a real insight into a fast-growing health-tech company and how they operate.

“The aim of the secondment is to support EQL in evaluating and validating their platforms using rigorous research methods, whilst also gaining knowledge of the state-of-the-art technologies that EQL use to support people with their musculoskeletal health; it’s a really exciting opportunity.”

Dr Elliott is based at the Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick with his core research focusing on human movement analytics, using signal processing and data science approaches to monitor, measure and model movement in a range of different contexts. He is particularly interested in the self-management of physiotherapy, highlighting it as one of the big challenges in healthcare at the moment.

His role on the secondment is to undertake research into how digital applications of technology can support people to self-manage their musculoskeletal health. The focus will be on implementing remote management and digital health platforms that could incorporate a number of technologies such as chat bots. He will initially work in the R&D team to investigate methods to collect clinical information through smartphone applications as well as exploring other novel uses of consumer grade technology.

He added: “On the research side it’s really useful to understand how people can use digital platforms — how they engage with them and for how long, whether they find it useful and whether it improves the long-term outcomes of patients.”

Find out more about at the Institute of Digital Healthcare here.

Tue 13 Jul 2021, 09:22 | Tags: Partnerships Research Our People IDH

Associate Professor receives Fellowship from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications

Picture of Dr Mark ElliottWMG’s Associate Professor, Dr Mark Elliott, has been accepted as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA).

Fellows require senior professional standing based on demonstrable achievement and competence in the development or application of mathematics.

Dr Elliott explains: "Mathematics has underpinned all the disciplines I have worked in during my research career, covering engineering, experimental psychology and most recently, digital health. So, it is great to join this important institution as a Fellow."

Dr Elliott is based in WMG’s Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH), with his core research focusing on human movement analytics. His research uses data science approaches to monitor, measure and model movement in a range of different contexts. His current research focusses on developing movement related technologies and data analysis methods in the areas of osteoarthritis, physiotherapy and physical activity.

Read more about Dr Elliott’s research here: WMG :: Our People :: Profile (warwick.ac.uk)

Wed 17 Mar 2021, 11:11 | Tags: Research Our People IDH

Child brain tumours can be classified by advanced imaging and AI

  • Brain tumours are the most common solid tumours in childhood and the largest cause of death from cancer in this age group
  • Being able to classify a brain tumour’s type, without the use of biopsy, is hard to do; however diffusion weighted imaging, an advanced imaging technique, when combined with machine learning, can help a UK-based multi-centre study, including WMG, University of Warwick has found.
  • Being able to characterise the tumour(s) faster and more accurately means they can be treated more efficiently

Diffusion weighted imaging and machine learning can successfully classify the diagnosis and characteristics of common types of paediatric brain tumours a UK-based multi-centre study, including WMG at the University of Warwick has found. This means that the tumour can be characterised and treated more efficiently.

The largest cause of death from cancer in children are brain tumours in a particular part of the brain, called the posterior fossa. However, within this area, there are three main types of brain tumour, and being able to characterise them quickly and efficiently can be challenging.

Currently a qualitative assessment of MRI by radiologists is used, however overlapping radiological characteristics can make it difficult to distinguish which type of tumour it is, without the confirmation of biopsy. In the paper, Classification of paediatric brain tumours by diffusion weighted imaging and machine learning’, published in the journal Scientific reports, led by the University of Birmingham including researchers from WMG, University of Warwick. The study found that tumour diagnostic classification can be improved by using non-invasive diffusion weighted imaging, when combined with machine learning (AI).

Diffusion weighted imaging involves the use of specific advanced MRI sequences, as well as software that generates images from the resulting data that uses the diffusion of water molecules to generate contrast in MR image. One can then extract an Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) map, analysed values of which can be used to tell you more about the tumour.

The study involved 117 patients from five primary treatment centres across the UK with scans from twelve different hospitals on a total of eighteen different scanners, the images from them were then analysed and region of interests were drawn by both an experienced radiologist and an expert scientist in paediatric neuroimaging. Values from the analysis of Apparent Diffusion Coeffcient maps from these images’ regions have been fed to AI algorithms to successfully discriminate the three most common types of paediatric posterior fossa brain tumours, non-invasively.

Professor Theo ArvanitisProfessor Theo Arvanitis, Director of the Institute of Digital Health at WMG, University of Warwick and one of the authors of the study explains:

“Using AI and advance Magnetic Resonance imaging characteristics, such as Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) values from diffusion weighted images, can potentially help distinguish, in a non-invasive way, between the main three different types of paediatric tumours in the posterior fossa, the area of the brain where such tumours are most commonly found in children.

“If this advanced imaging technique, combined with AI technology, can be routinely enrolled into hospitals it means that childhood brain tumours can be characterised and classified more efficiently, and in turn means that treatments can be pursued in a quicker manner with favourable outcomes for children suffering from the disease.”

Professor Andrew Peet, NIHR Professor in Clinical Paediatric Oncology at the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Children’s Hospital adds:
“When a child comes to hospital with symptoms that could mean they have a brain tumour that initial scan is such a difficult time for the family and understandably they want answers as soon as possible. Here we have combined readily available scans with artificial intelligence to provide high levels of diagnostic accuracy that can start to give some answers. Previous studies using these techniques have largely been limited to single expert centres. Showing that they can work across such a large number of hospitals opens the door to many children benefitting from rapid non-invasive diagnosis of their brain tumour. These are very exciting times and we are working hard now to start making these artificial intelligence techniques widely available.”

ENDS

15 FEBRUARY 2021

NOTES TO EDITORS

High-res images available at:
https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/april2020/theoarvanitis.jpg
Caption: Professor Theo Arvanitis, from the Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick

Paper available to view at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-82214-3

Paper DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-82214-3

FOR FURTHER INFROMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

Mon 15 Feb 2021, 11:23 | Tags: Partnerships Research IDH

Risk factors for mortality in diabetic patients discharged from hospital identified

HealthcareWhen patients are discharged from hospital those with diabetes are at an increased risk of readmission and mortality, there are guidelines for discharging patients with diabetes to reduce these risks, however researchers from the Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick and Warwick Medical School have identified known risk factors for mortality in adult patients discharged from hospital with diabetes.

In the paper, A Systematic Review Considering Risk factors for Mortality of Patients Discharged from Hospital with a Diagnosis of Diabetes’, published in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, researchers identified 35 studies that considered the risk factors relating to mortality for patients discharged from hospital with diabetes, they analysed these studies and identified 48 significant risk factors for mortality.

The 48 risk factors are grouped into the following nine categories:

· Demographic

· Socioeconomic

· Lifestyle

· Patient medical factors

· Inpatient stay factors

· Medication related

· Laboratory results

· Glycaemic status

 

Professor Theo Arvanitis, from the Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“The most common risk factor is in the demographic category of age and the second most important factor is co-morbidity burden; this comes under the patient medical factors category, and means patients have more than one condition. We also identified BMI as a significant risk within the patient medical factors category, with those who were at the heavier end of the scales to be more at risk.

“Thirty-seven of the risk factors we identified from one research paper. This tell us that this research in general is still very early, and more studies are needed to identify the importance and possibly any other risk factors. This could decrease the mortality rate of diabetics discharged from hospitals in the future.”

ENDS

2 SEPTEMBER 2020

NOTES TO EDITORS

High-res images available at:
https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/april2020/theoarvanitis.jpg
Caption: Professor Theo Arvanitis, from the Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick

Paper available to view: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2020.107705

 


The early pandemic paradox: fewer deaths in the first 4 months of 2020 compared to the previous 5 years

  • Scientists at the Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG and Warwick Medical School, at the University of Warwick, have analysed mortality statistics in the UK during the initial phases of the severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, by analysing the weekly national mortality statistics over the last five years including the subgroup of respiratory mortality rates
  • They found there were fewer deaths recorded from the end of December 2019 until the end of March 2020 in comparison to the previous five years, including in the subgroup assessment of respiratory mortality rates
  • The researchers describe a SARS-CoV-2 Paradox that resulted in a lower death rate during the early stages of the pandemic in comparison to previous years, perhaps due to government enforced social distancing introduced in the middle of March.
  • Some had already engaged with social distancing before a formal lockdown, and precautions such as more hand washing, lead to a reduction in the mixing of those with infectious diseases including, but not exclusive of, SARS-CoV-2

An analysis of national weekly mortality rates between December 2019 – March 2020, compared to the same period for the previous five years, by researchers at WMG and WMS, University of Warwick, has shown that there have been fewer deaths registered this year during the lead up to the Covid-19 pandemic. Researchers have called this the SARS-CoV-2 Paradox - which could be due to early social distancing measures.

Theo Arvanitis.

Researchers from the Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG and Warwick Medical School, at the University of Warwick, have analysed the mortality statistics in the United Kingdom during the initial phases of the severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic to understand the impact of the pandemic on national mortality figures.

They did this by carrying out a retrospective review of weekly national mortality statistics in the United Kingdom over the previous 5 years, including subgroup assessment of respiratory mortality rates, from the end of November until the end of March.

The analysis found that during the first months of 2020, when the early phases of the severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic was apparent in the UK, there were consistently fewer deaths each week compared with the previous five years.

However, such a pattern has not been seen in the previous five years of data, researchers coined this the SARS-CoV-2 Paradox, and propose the reason why the death rate was lower during the early stages of the pandemic in comparison to previous years could be due to social distancing, as whilst the government enforced social distancing in the middle of March, some had already engaged with this, especially higher risk groups/elderly, leading to a reduction in the mixing of those with infectious diseases including, but not exclusive of, SARS-CoV-2.

It could also be due to the emphasised importance of washing hands, staying home when you feel unwell and coughing or sneezing into a tissue, this is likely to reduce the number of cases of other infectious disease and, also, slow the spread of various infectious diseases. Finally, iatrogenic mortality may be reduced, as hospital admission numbers have reduced; and there may thus be a reduction in the spread of hospital-acquired infections, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Similarly, reductions in elective surgery (in order to prepare intensive care and hospital bed capacity) may result in fewer iatrogenic deaths.

The graph shows week 12, the 20th March there was an increase in deaths, with 2020 deaths being 10,645, and previous 5 year mean to be 10,573, this could be related to covid-19, as symptoms such as headaches and loss of taste weren’t identified, however it could also be attributed to closed GPs, an overwhelmed A&E and ITUs being increasingly selective about which patients to take as lockdown was formally announced that week.

Professor Theo Arvanitis, from the Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick comments:
“Each year, infectious diseases make a significant contribution towards avoidable deaths in England and Wales. People with multi-morbidities are at particular risk, and this is a key area of research for the Institute of Digital Healthcare. Social distancing measures are likely to impact the spread of all infectious diseases, despite their target being a reduction in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus. This lack of disease spread could be causing a reduction in death rate. Another factor could be concerns around the virus, which could mean people are making more conscious health decisions in terms of eating, exercise, reducing smoking and resting, when they feel unwell, or seeking advice from 111 about their symptoms.

“It is important to note that whilst we have seen a reduction in mortality in the ‘run-up’ to seeing the full extent of SARS-CoV-2 that this may also have negative future consequences. It is possible that we may see a significant rebound if this mortality has simply been delayed rather than avoided in its entirety. If a rebound affect is seen, this may coincide with the peak demand for SARS-CoV-2 medical beds, creating an even greater healthcare need.

“Overall, this stresses the need for careful ongoing observation and exploration of these mortality trends. This assessment must take account not just of the SARS-CoV-2 peak, but also the time period prior to, and following the pandemic.”

  • ‘England and Wales Mortality Statistics: The SARS-CoV-2 Paradox’ is published in the Journal of International Medical Research, DOI: 10.1177/0300060520931298

ENDS

22 June 2020

NOTES TO EDITORS

High-res images available at:

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/april2020/theoarvanitis.jpg
Caption: Professor Theo Arvanitis, Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG, University of Warwick

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/june2020/table_1.jpg
Caption: Deaths rates in England and Wales: comparing deaths between December 2019 and March 2020 to death rates over the same period in the previous 5 years.

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/june2020/figure_2.jpg
Caption: Possible mechanisms for reducing all-cause mortality.

For Press enquires please contact:

Peter Thorley, Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School), Peter.Thorley@warwick.ac.uk, 07824 540863

OR

Lisa Harding, Head of Marketing and Communications (WMG), Lisa.Harding@warwick.ac.uk, 07824 540845

Mon 22 Jun 2020, 10:10 | Tags: IDH

How COVID19 could spark world-wide mobile consulting boom

Researchers, from WMG’s Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH), believe that remote consulting practices should be adopted widely during the COVID-19 pandemic to help low and middle income countries to help combat the virus, and to provide quality healthcare to patients in the long-term.

By implementing remote consulting practices - such as by mobile phone or mobile app - to maintain services during the COVID-19 pandemic, health services in countries in Africa and South Asia could provide communities permanent access to healthcare that they previously struggled to access.

Researchers, at the University of Warwick and King’s College London, have developed and implemented a training course with St Francis University College in Tanzania designed to equip nurses, doctors and medical officers in leadership roles with the knowledge and skills to integrate remote consulting into practice in their local service. It is based on research recently published in the journal Digital Health that provides a framework for healthcare leaders to consider how to implement it in their own services. The training takes the form of a short course using blended learning through an app on a smartphone and facilitated through social media. These healthcare leaders cascade the learning to other health workers in their service.

Professor Thei ArvanitisProfessor Theodoros N. Arvanitis, Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG at the University of Warwick and one of the co-authors, commented: “Digitally-enabled approaches to remote consultation provide the way forward in the new reality we are living. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we will receive health care in the future, manage our health and wellbeing and go about our daily lives. Remote consultation and digital health solutions provide multiple benefits to individuals and society. Through such approaches, now and in the future, people’s health journeys are better understood and appropriate lifestyle choices can be better tailored and promoted to the individual.”

Using mobile technology to see patients is part of the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 response strategy, but detail there is limited. The researchers have put together a policy brief written in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to raise awareness of remote consulting and encouraging healthcare leaders in low to middle income countries to undertake the training and disseminate the knowledge within their local health service.

Professor Frances Griffiths from Warwick Medical School, and lead author of the paper, said: “Moving healthcare workers in low to middle income countries to remote consulting is something that we think is really important to consider.

“In the context of COVID-19, the benefits of remote consulting are suddenly much greater. It protects the health worker and minimises physical contact with patients. It minimises the risk to patients. As a result, it also reduces the need for PPE.

“For communities with little healthcare, this is a better way of providing good quality healthcare for them. For people who live anywhere who have a long term condition, it is so much more convenient for them if we can do as much as possible remotely.

“I think it will embraced more widely and I think it should be. What COVID-19 has done is made people realise that they can do it differently. The experience of COVID-19 in the UK is ahead of Africa and South Asia, but if we can get remote consulting off the ground there because of the pandemic then the benefits will be seen afterwards. Particularly for long-term conditions and marginalised communities, although there can be benefits for acute illnesses as well.”

Read ‘Mobile consulting (mConsulting) and its potential for providing access to quality healthcare for populations living in low-resource settings of low- and middle-income countries’  published in Digital Health, here: 10.1177/2055207620919594 

 


Patients prefer their consent to share their data and to manage it digitally

Patients with diabetes often have to see many different stakeholders who each specialise in different aspects of their treatment. Researchers from WMG, University of Warwick surveyed patients on their understanding of how their data was shared, and found they would prefer to have it shared digitally using the Dovetail Digital consent application.

Patients prefer their consent to share their data and to manage it digitallyThere are 4.7 million people in the UK live with diabetes, and will spend a lot of time visiting different specialist in different practices, who each specialise in some aspect of their treatment. Furthermore advances in digital technologies have resulted in innovative applications, which supported by healthcare professionals enable self-management, empowering patients to take control over aspects of their care. This requires a lot of data sharing, which is currently done by one practice requesting the medical records off another practice; with the need for doctors consent to share, this can be a long process to sign off. Furthermore, the process tends to be obscure with the patients forgetting the transfers for which they have given consent, as well not being very easy to revoke consent should the want so. The ability of patients to have control is one of the fundamental ethical and legal rights of the patient, and in many cases is difficult to balance against beneficial but data sharing intensive applications.

However, researchers from the Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH) at WMG, University of Warwick propose that a new system called the Dovetail Digital consent application is favourable, and have analysed it in the paper; ‘Evaluation of patient perception towards dynamic health data sharing using blockchain based digital consent with the Dovetail digital consent application: A cross sectional exploratory study’, published in the journal Digital Health, SAGE Publications.

The Dovetail digital consent application is a robust, trusted and flexible mechanism for patients to offer their consent for their data to be shared between GP practices; they can also revoke consent at any point, therefore empowering them to manage their condition within an integrated care setting.

Dovetail sees a mobile application and blockchain-based infrastructure, meaning they can trace where their data has been shared. Blockchain is a state-of-the art technology originating in the financial industry, which has allowed implementing healthcare applications with the confidence and robustness found in the financial sector.

To survey whether it would work, IDH researchers asked 23 patients and 13 staff with diabetes, at a GP practice, to complete a series of questionnaires, followed by a focus group discussion, to determine their understanding of current methods to share data in a medical setting, and to see if they recall giving consent.

IDH Researchers then conducted a thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts and descriptive statistics of the questionnaires were performed.

Professor Theo Arvanitis, Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick explains what they found:

“We discovered there was a lack of understanding of existing consent processes in place, in fact many patients did not have any recollection of having previously given consent to their data being shared. When we asked them what they thought about the digital consent application patients overwhelmingly favoured the digital consent application over existing practice, as they recognised the value of the capability offered by the application.”

Dr George Despotou, Associate Professor at the Institute of Digital Healthcare and lead in the study comments:
“The study participants welcomed an application that would ultimately contribute to improving their quality of case, whilst maintaining control over their data. In particular the study participants acknowledged the clarity of the consent application, and the ease with which they could review, as well as revoke existing consents. This was a very promising study on a technology that may be opening the way for highly innovative applications improving quality and efficiency of healthcare services, which patients would welcome, assured that ultimately they are in charge of their data.”

IDH Researchers were able to conclude that the digital consent was received favourably as patients were able to recognise that it addresses the main limitations of the current process, but also acknowledged the traceability and transparency of the Dovetail app. Further research can now be conducted to see if patients across a wider demographic prefer the Dovetail Digital consent application, and if successful could revolutionise the way that patient data is stored and shared.

Paper available to view at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2055207620924949

DOI: 10.1177/2055207620924949


Coronavirus brings dawn of digital healthcare

In light of the highly-infectious Coronavirus pandemic, healthcare systems across the world have had to adapt rapidly for the evolving situation for three reasons:

1. The need to triage and treat large number of patients with respiratory problems

2. The need to protect healthcare workers to ensure they can treat the sick

3. The need to protect the elderly and most vulnerable in society from being infected

In the editorial, 'Covid-19: A new digital dawn?', published in the journal Digital Health (SAGE Publications), researchers from our Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick (together with colleagues from Warwick Medical School, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust and Bristol Heart Institute, United Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust) provide insight into how these three reasons have led to an increase in digital healthcare.

Professor Theo ArvanitisProfessor Theodoros Arvanitis, from the Institute of Digital Healthcare at WMG, University of Warwick comments:

“Covid-19 will unfortunately have a human cost that will be remembered for many years to come. Its impact on healthcare, the economy and society, as a whole, will be rather significant. However, it could also be the start of more digitised healthcare, as new ways of remote and digital health working have had to evolve so rapidly. We can learn from this time and take it further to make one positive come out of coronavirus, a more digital healthcare practice.

“A more digital healthcare practice could help slow further spreads of infections, as if you have an infection and go to the doctors, you could pass it to people in the waiting area. It can also help GPs communicate more quickly and internationally, sharing advice more freely in the future.

“It can also improve the economy of the healthcare system by managing better the clinical load of frontline staff, while provide flexibility in the way citizens access healthcare services.”

Innovative digital healthcare responses come into various aspects of coronavirus, from communication, to education and patient management.

In terms of communication, clinical groups are using messaging services such as slack and WhatsApp to manage rotas as high levels of staff may be off sick or in self-isolation. They are also using social media, such as Facebook to make groups such as the ‘COVID Doctors Forum (UK)’, which on the 6th April 2020 had 14,813 members.

The group covers a range of topics, from PPE to procedures of self-isolation and lessons from colleagues internationally, as well as a number of blog posts.

There’s also been further examples in change of communication as the Discourse Digital Health Network had a page with multiple threads considering the digital response to Covid-19, as well as a webinar on the response, hosted by NHSX ,which would have previously been face to face.

Education wise many conference, training courses, post-graduate exams have been cancelled, however the need for rapid education of the healthcare workforce to deal with respiratory problems and deployment education to staff who have changed roles during the pandemic is still needed. It has therefore been carried out virtually.

Doctors in training have had their Annual Review of Clinical Progression assessments virtually, e-learning packages have also been set up much more rapidly than previously. For example, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire produced a training package in just 72 hours to help staff train to deal with viral respiratory diseases.

One of the most significant changes is to patient management, in order to protect the elderly and vulnerable telemedicine consultations have taken place rather than in person.

There’s also been a rapid reaction in the MedTech industry to roll out digital tools and packages, such as EMIS, (Egton Medical Information Systems), the largest supplier of electronic health records, introducing a range of interventions, including modifying coding, alert tracking and all EMIS web GPs in the UK being able to host vide consultations for free.

Most GP practices are now offering appointments over the phone, video call or via an app.


WMG Professor appointed Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare

Professor Theo ArvanitisProfessor Theo Arvanitis has been appointed as the new Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH), at WMG.

Professor Arvanitis takes over the new role replacing Professor Sudhesh Kumar from Warwick Medical School.

He joined WMG in 2007, as a Professor of e-Health Innovation and Head of Research in IDH, and his research interests span the areas of biomedical engineering, neuroimaging and health informatics.

Professor Arvanitis will manage his new role alongside his current research responsibilities within WMG. He will be supported by a new IDH Advisory Board which will be appointed in the new year.


New approach helps computers deal with conflicts and duplications when applying more than one clinical practice guideline to a patient

Researchers in WMG at the University of Warwick have developed a new method that could solve the problem of how to automate support of managing the complexities of care when applying multiple clinical practice guidelines, to patients with more than one medical issue.

This will preserve the speed and accuracy of automated treatment decisions without introducing serious treatment conflicts or wasteful duplication of treatments and procedures.

Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) are evidence-based statements or flow charts, which are used to support the decision-making of health professionals. CPGs are a body of knowledge representing best practice, based on the available evidence. Guidelines are relatively straightforward to input into a computer (a.k.a Computer Interpretable Guidelines (CIGs)), enhancing the speed and accuracy of patient care in many situations.

However, it becomes more problematic for patients who have more than one conditions. In such cases (known as multimorbid patients), the guideline recommendations for each treatment can be at odds, produce serious treatment conflicts and ultimately potential harm to the patient.

For instance, one drug-based medication might assist one condition but could worsen the other. This is particularly critical for elderly patients who are most likely to have dynamic and multiple health conditions.

The research team from WMG’s Institute of Digital Healthcare at the University of Warwick (Ms Eda Bilici, Dr George Despotou and Professor Theodoros Professor Theo ArvanitisArvanitis) have implemented a framework of automating computer-based management of multiple Clinical Practice Guidelines to overcome this problem.

The new framework is called MuCIGREF – (Multiple Computer Interpretable Guideline Representation and Execution Framework). It allows development CIG models for each CPG. Once the CIG models are created, they are then concurrently executed to generate a unified personal plan for each individual multimorbid patient.

It ensures care optimisation to avoid unnecessary resource use or potential care duplications because of the multiple plans (e.g., carer time, lab test).

It identifies potential conflicts in the care plan and resolves them through the modification of clinical activities (e.g., activity start time, duration), or its associated care element (e.g. the drug dose level)

The researchers tested the new framework on several CPGs from the UK National Institute of Care Excellence (NICE), and they hope to conduct further work that will involve user validation and application in real-world cases.

This first stage in the work has just been published in a chapter entitled “Concurrent Execution of Multiple Computer- interpretable Clinical Practice Guidelines and Their Interrelations” in the Ebook Health Informatics Vision: From Data via Information to Knowledge  

 ENDS

4 OCTOBER 2019

NOTES TO EDITORS

Paper Available to view at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31349252

Eda Bilici has received a PhD scholarship from WMG, University of Warwick. Prof Theodoros Arvanitis and Dr George Despotou have been supported by the EU H2020 C3-Cloud Project

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

 


Older news