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  • Journal article
    Arhi CS, Markar S, Burns EM, Bouras G, Bottle A, Hanna G, Aylin P, Ziprin P, Darzi Aet al., 2019,

    Delays in referral from primary care are associated with a worse survival in patients with esophagogastric cancer

    , Diseases of the Esophagus, Vol: 32, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1120-8694

    NICE referral guidelines for suspected cancer were introduced to improve prognosis by reducing referral delays. However, over 20% of patients with esophagogastric cancer experience three or more consultations before referral. In this retrospective cohort study, we hypothesize that such a delay is associated with a worse survival compared with patients referred earlier. By utilizing Clinical Practice Research Datalink, a national primary care linked database, the first presentation, referral date, a number of consultations before referral and stage for esophagogastric cancer patients were determined. The risk of a referral after one or two consultations compared with three or more consultations was calculated for age and the presence of symptom fulfilling the NICE criteria. The risk of death according to the number of consultations before referral was determined, while accounting for stage and surgical management. 1307 patients were included. Patients referred after one (HR 0.80 95% CI 0.68-0.93 p = 0.005) or two consultations (HR 0.81 95% CI 0.67-0.98 p = 0.034) demonstrated significantly improved prognosis compared with those referred later. The risk of death was also lower for patients who underwent a resection, were younger or had an earlier stage at diagnosis. Those presenting with a symptom fulfilling the NICE criteria (OR 0.27 95% CI 0.21-0.35 p < 0.0001) were more likely to be referred earlier. This is the first study to demonstrate an association between a delay in referral and worse prognosis in esophagogastric patients. These findings should prompt further research to reduce primary care delays.

  • Journal article
    Fernandes Neves Soares AL, Poovendran D, Freise L, Ghafur S, Flott K, Darzi A, Mayer Eet al., 2019,

    Healthcare professionals’ perspectives on the secondary use of health records to improve quality and safety of care: a qualitative study in England

    , Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol: 21, ISSN: 1438-8871

    Background: Healthcare professionals (HCP) are often patients’ first point of contact in what concerns the communication of the purposes, benefits, and risks of sharing electronic health records (EHR) for non-direct care purposes. Their engagement is fundamental to ensure patients’ buy-in and a successful implementation of healthcare data sharing schemes. However, their views on this subject are seldom evaluated. Objective: To explore HCP’ perspectives on the secondary uses of healthcare data in England. Specifically, we aimed to assess a) their knowledge on its purposes and b) the main concerns about data sharing processes.Methods: A total of 30 interviews were conducted between the 27th March and 7th April 2017 using an online interview platform, and following a topic guide with open-ended questions. The participants represented a variety of geographic locations across England (London, West Midlands, East of England, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber), covering both primary and secondary care services. The transcripts were compiled verbatim and systematically reviewed by two independent reviewers, using the framework analysis method to identify emerging themes.Results: HCP were knowledgeable about the possible secondary uses of data and highlighted its importance for 1) patient profiling and tailored care, 2) research, 3) quality assurance, 4) public health, and 5) service delivery planning purposes. Main concerns towards data sharing included 1) data accuracy, 2) patients’ willingness to share their records, 3) challenges on obtaining free and informed consent, 4) data security, 5) lack of adequacy / understanding of current policies, and 6) potential patient exposure and exploitation.Conclusions: These results suggest a high level of HCP understanding about the purposes of data sharing for secondary purposes, however, some concerns still remain. A better understanding of HCP’ knowledge and concerns could inform national communica

  • Journal article
    Fontana G, Flott K, Dhingra-Kumar N, Durkin M, Darzi Aet al., 2019,

    Five reasons for optimism on World Patient Safety Day

    , The Lancet, Vol: 394, Pages: 993-995, ISSN: 0140-6736
  • Journal article
    Symons J, Ashrafian H, Dunscombe R, Darzi Aet al., 2019,

    From EHR to PHR: Let’s get the UK record straight

    , BMJ Open, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-5, ISSN: 2044-6055

    This article reflects on the changing nature of health information access and the transition of focus from electronic health records (EHRs) to personal health records (PHRs) along with the challenges and need for alignment of national initiatives for EHR and PHR in the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom (UK).The importance of implementing integrated EHRs as a route to enhance the quality of health delivery has been increasingly understood. EHRs however carry several limitations that include major fragmentation through multiple providers and protocols throughout the NHS. Questions over ownership and control of data further complicate the potential for fully utilising records. Analysing the previous initiatives and the current landscape, we identify that adopting a patient health record system can empower patients and allow better harmonisation of clinical data at a national level. We propose regional PHR “hubs” to provide a universal interface that integrates digital heath data at a regional level with further integration at a national level.We propose that these PHR “hubs” will reduce the complexity of connections, decrease governance challenges and interoperability issues while also providing a safe platform for high-quality scalable and sustainable digital solutions, including artificial intelligence (AI) across the UK NHS, serving as an exemplar for other countries which wish to realise the full value of healthcare records.

  • Journal article
    Dewa L, Lavelle M, Pickles K, Jaques J, Kalorkoti C, Pappa S, Aylin Pet al., 2019,

    Young adults’ perceptions of using wearables, social media and other technologies to detect worsening mental health: a qualitative study

    , PLoS One, Vol: 14, ISSN: 1932-6203

    BackgroundTechnological interventions may help support and improve mental health. However young peoples’ perspectives on using different technologies to detect deteriorating mental health in those already diagnosed with a mental health condition is lacking. The study aim was to explore the perspectives of young patients on the feasibility and acceptability of using wearables, social media and technologies to detect mental health deterioration. Methods The study was co-produced with young adults with past mental health difficulties. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with young adults with a severe mental health condition in a private room at a community mental health site. Data was triangulated by comparing codes and ideas across the two co-researchers and two researchers over two virtual meetings. Themes were finalised and presented in a thematic map. ResultsSixteen participants were interviewed (81% female). There were four main themes: dealing with mental health symptoms, signs of mental health deterioration, technology concerns and technological applications to identify worsening mental health. Wearables and mobile apps were considered acceptable and feasible to detect mental health deterioration in real-time if they could measure changes in sleep patterns, mood or activity levels as signs of deterioration. Getting help earlier was deemed essential particularly in reference to dissatisfaction with the current non-technological mental health services. However, patients identified issues to consider before implementation including practicality, safeguarding and patient preference. ConclusionWearables and mobile apps could be viable technological options to help detect deterioration in young people in order to intervene early and avoid delay in accessing mental health services. However, immediate action following detection is required for the patient to trust and use the intervention.

  • Journal article
    Kurek N, Darzi A, 2019,

    The ageing surgeon

    , BMJ Quality and Safety, Vol: 29, Pages: 95-97, ISSN: 2044-5415
  • Journal article
    Garas G, Cingolani I, Patel V, Panzarasa P, Darzi A, Athanasiou Tet al., 2019,

    Evaluating the implications of Brexit for research collaboration and policy: A network analysis and simulation study

    , BMJ Open, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2044-6055

    Objective To evaluate the role of the European Union (EU) as a research collaborator in the United Kingdom (UK)’s success as a global leader in healthcare research and innovation and quantify the impact that Brexit may have. Design Network and regression analysis of scientific collaboration, followed by simulation models based on alternative scenarios. Setting International real world collaboration network among all countries involved in robotic surgical research and innovation.Participants 772 organisations from industry and academia nested within 56 countries and connected through 2,397 collaboration links.Main outcome measures Research impact measured through citations, innovation value measured through the innovation index, and an array of attributes of social networks to measure brokerage and geographical entropy at national and international levels.Results Globally, the UK ranks third in robotic surgical innovation, and the EU constitutes its prime collaborator. Brokerage opportunities and collaborators’ geographical diversity are associated with a country’s research impact (c=211.320 and 244.527, respectively;p-value<0·01) and innovation (c=18.819 and 30.850, respectively;p-value<0·01). Replacing EU collaborators with United States (US)’ ones is the only strategy that could benefit the UK, but on the condition that US collaborators are chosen among the top-performing ones, which is likely to be very difficult and costly, at least in the short term. Conclusions This study suggests what has long been argued, namely that the UK-EU research partnership has been mutually beneficial and that its continuation represents the best possible outcome for both negotiating parties. However, the uncertainties raised by Brexit necessitate looking beyond the EU for potential research partners. In the short-term, the UK’s best strategy might be to try and maintain its academic links with the EU. In the longer-term, strategic r

  • Conference paper
    Ezzat A, Thakkar R, Kogkas A, Mylonas Get al., 2019,

    Perceptions of surgeons and scrub nurses towards a novel eye-tracking based robotic scrub nurse platform

    , International Surgical Congress of the Association-of-Surgeons-of-Great-Britain-and-Ireland (ASGBI), Publisher: WILEY, Pages: 81-82, ISSN: 0007-1323
  • Journal article
    Miraldo M, Goiana-da-Silva F, Cruz-e-Silva D, Morais Nunes A, Carriço M, Costa F, Darzi A, Araujo Fet al., 2019,

    Disrupting the landscape: how the Portuguese National Health Service built an omnichannel communication platfor

    , Public Health Panorama, Vol: 5, Pages: 314-323, ISSN: 2412-544X

    Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading causes of death, disease and disability in the WHO European Region and are largely preventable. The private sector has long been using marketing to influence and change people’s lifestyles. In some cases, particularly the food sector, health-compromising content is prioritized over health-promoting content. However, this case study aims to illustrate how governments working on tight budgets can partner with private media companies to their own advantage in order to increase the impact of health messages and thus improve the health literacy of the population. The omnichannel communication platform and associated campaigns initiated by the Portuguese government and described in this case study serve as a practical example of a national health literacy initiative successfully reaching a wide audience. Indeed, the Portuguese National Health Service entered high on the list of the most impactful communication campaigns in Portugal.This might have implications for other countries as although further progress is required to analyse any impact of the campaigns, this example showcases the potential advantages of partnering with the media in that by using the same communication channels as multinational food and tobacco companies, governments may be able to level the playing field in terms of influence through marketing and communication, which might help to reverse unhealthy lifestyles among their populations.

  • Conference paper
    Avery J, Runciman M, Darzi A, Mylonas GPet al., 2019,

    Shape sensing of variable stiffness soft robots using electrical impedance tomography

    , International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 9066-9072, ISSN: 1050-4729

    Soft robotic systems offer benefits over traditional rigid systems through reduced contact trauma with soft tissues and by enabling access through tortuous paths in minimally invasive surgery. However, the inherent deformability of soft robots places both a greater onus on accurate modelling of their shape, and greater challenges in realising intraoperative shape sensing. Herein we present a proprioceptive (self-sensing) soft actuator, with an electrically conductive working fluid. Electrical impedance measurements from up to six electrodes enabled tomographic reconstructions using Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT). A new Frequency Division Multiplexed (FDM) EIT system was developed capable of measurements of 66 dB SNR with 20 ms temporal resolution. The concept was examined in two two-degree-of-freedom designs: a hydraulic hinged actuator and a pneumatic finger actuator with hydraulic beams. Both cases demonstrated that impedance measurements could be used to infer shape changes, and EIT images reconstructed during actuation showed distinct patterns with respect to each degree of freedom (DOF). Whilst there was some mechanical hysteresis observed, the repeatability of the measurements and resultant images was high. The results show the potential of FDM-EIT as a low-cost, low profile shape sensor in soft robots.

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