We were a collaborator on a recent Innovate UK-funded SBRI project with Atlas Genetics and the Applied Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Unit at St George’s University of London. In this project, our team compared the overall costs, patient benefits and cost-effectiveness of three different multi-pathogen point-of-care testing strategies with the current strategy of microscopy and lab-based testing.
Personalised medicine is an emerging field that brings exciting changes to patient care. So, what exactly is personalised medicine and what are its benefits?
In the past, various terms have been used interchangeably: ‘stratified medicine’, ‘personalised medicine’ and ‘precision medicine’. These terms refer to data driven medicine, in which data can be a patient’s genetic makeup, molecular data or disposition to respond to therapy. These data allow for a targeted approach to prevention, diagnosis and treatment using technologies such as genomic medicine, diagnostic tests, predictive data analytics or real-time patient monitoring.
In a study commissioned by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, Aquarius Population Health worked with modellers at the University of Bristol to create a mathematical model. The model was used to assess the economic implications and treatment impact of introducing a hypothetical antimicrobial resistance (AMR) point-of-care test (POCT) for gonorrhoea. Results of the study were published this week in BMJ Open.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been described as one of the world’s greatest threats to human and animal health. Some reports suggest that by 2050, AMR could kill around 10 million people each year worldwide. Public health leaders warn we could enter a ‘post-antibiotic’ era where easily treatable common infections become untreatable.
Part 2: What, if anything, can we do as individuals to help combat AMR?
In the second part of this article, we explore what we can do to combat AMR.
Don’t get ill.
That might sound ridiculous, since no one wants to get ill. However as individuals, we can reduce our risk of picking up an infection and reduce our need for antimicrobials. One of the simplest, but probably the most difficult, is to eat a healthy diet and stay physically active. At the Aquarius office, we have a communal fruit bowl to encourage us to eat healthier snacks. We compete in a weekly fitness challenge to see who walks the most steps, encouraging us all to be more active.
Part 3: What role does innovation such as rapid diagnostics have in preventing AMR?
Just as new technology has helped us in the fight against global warming (fuel efficiency, clean energy etc.), technology can also help us in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). One such area is rapid diagnostics – identified as a key intervention for reducing AMR in the government’s 2016 Review of Antimicrobial Resistance.
When I started hunting for internships towards the end of the third year of my Computer Science degree, I knew that I wanted to work for a small and growing business. I found Aquarius through the UCL Advances internship scheme that specialises in small to medium sized businesses. Aquarius offered the perfect combination of experiences for me: a way to apply my technical skills while being exposed to the fundamentals of how a growing business was run. My primary task was building an online data portal that the team could use to store and organise their data related to their various projects.
Our Managing Director, Elisabeth Adams, spoke in November about the importance of exploring the health economics of point of care testing (POCT) at the Royal Society of Medicine Telemedicine and eHealth event in London. The video of her presentation is now online – view the full talk here.
Why is it important to explore the health economics of point of care testing (POCT)?
Evaluating the health economics of POCTs can help us better understand the cost, benefits and value of implementing these tests, compared to standard laboratory tests. We need to explore the acquisition costs of innovative technology like POCTs compared to standard tests, as well as the benefits generated for patients, service providers, clinicians and public health in general. Benefits can include faster results, better care, fewer complications, more efficient services and better use of resources, and knock-on benefits like reduced prevalence of disease. Those making purchasing decisions for new tests need evidence to prove the value of the tests.
I recently returned from Scotland where I was guest lecturing at the University of St Andrews School of Medicine. This is the second year I’ve been asked by my good friend, Dr. Damien Williams, to deliver a lecture as part of their MSc in Global Health Implementation programme. The topic of the lecture was ‘Addressing health inequities: Dynamic systems approach for global health implementation.’ Tackling complex problems in public health is an important topic; I want to give a brief overview of using a systems approach to complex problems in public health.