Improving care quality and safety
Unsafe care is among the leading causes of death worldwide. It’s estimated that one in ten patients is harmed while receiving hospital care in high-income countries and the challenge is even greater in the developing world. Alongside greater access, safe care is an essential goal for health systems worldwide, which is why we’re working to improve the safety and quality of care and reduce the burden of harm.
Our NIHR North West London Patient Safety Research Collaboration (PSRC) is at the core of this work. Since it was established the Centre has been working towards one clear goal: the delivery of safer healthcare. The Centre collaborates across IGHI, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and with other national and global partners to deliver sustainable, high-impact research in patient safety.
Find out how this work is advancing the scientific understanding of patient safety, empowering patients and staff and developing innovative interventions to address patient safety challenges.
Highlights from our patient safety work
Supporting GPs’ decisions for cancer referrals
A number of tools have been developed to help doctors work out the risk that a person has undiagnosed cancer. These cancer risk tools consider a number of different factors that could influence a person’s risk of cancer, such as their age and lifestyle habits, and also any telltale symptoms they may have. Taken together, these generate a score that dictates the likelihood that a person could have cancer.
We’re looking at how these scores can influence GPs’ clinical judgment. We’re also exploring how best to present these scores to GPs to support their decisions about urgent referrals for suspected cancer.
Dosium: supporting decision-making to enhance medication safety
Our team of clinicians, engineers and designers, in partnership with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, has developed one of the world’s most advanced, real-time medication decision support systems to enable safe, informed decision-making.
Our digital solution means doctors, nurses and pharmacists have access to the most up-to-date and patient-specific medication guidance at all times. By integrating a range of data including patient and drug manufacturers’ information, national formularies and hospital protocols, Dosium’s Touchdose app ensures the right patient receives the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time.
Wearable tech for remote sepsis monitoring
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that can be hard to spot. We’re exploring the use of novel technology to identify sepsis sooner. Our research is evaluating wearable sensors, originally developed at the College, which frequently measure patients’ vital signs and could speed up the detection of clinical deterioration. The algorithms we’ve been developing alert staff when a problem is picked up through the data, enabling a swift response from clinical teams.
We’re also looking to expand this approach for other conditions and have already been applying the technology to enable remote monitoring for COVID-19.
Text messages for positive behaviour change
Following the success of our collaborative trial of a text message-based intervention to reduce burnout in trainee anaesthetists, we’re now establishing a trial of organisational-level interventions to reduce burnout in nursing staff, in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
With Public Health England, we’re also exploring the potential of text messages and a new, co-developed video intervention to improve breast screening attendance. This builds on our previous work showing how SMS reminders can boost cervical screening uptake, leading to the successful implementation of a pilot campaign in London.