Antimicrobial Resistance: Innovation in rapid diagnostics

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.

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An intern’s experience at Aquarius Population Health

Ed Collins, Summer Intern
Ed Collins, Summer Intern

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.

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Point of care testing: Disruptive innovation – is the NHS ready for it yet?

Elisabeth AdamsOur 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.

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Using a systems approach to complex problems in public health

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.

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Where are we with HIV in the UK?

HIV has profoundly impacted public health. Currently, 36.7 million people live with HIV worldwide and over 100,000 in the UK. According to data from Public Health England (PHE),  an estimated 6,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2015 and 13,500 people not yet diagnosed.

Increasing awareness, swift diagnosis and provision of antiretroviral therapy for people who are diagnosed is crucial to prevent onward transmission of HIV and end the HIV epidemic.  These aims were highlighted in the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 global target and the latest World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on HIV treatment and prevention.

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Understanding barriers to implementing point-of-care tests in paediatric patients

The team at Aquarius Population Health investigated the experience of implementing point-of-care tests (POCTs) for paediatric patients during respiratory disease season (winter 2014 – spring 2015), in collaboration with colleagues from three large hospitals in South London (Guy’s and St. Thomas’, King’s College Hospital, and St. George’s University Hospital). Each centre independently evaluated one POCT test (Enigma® MiniLab™ FluAB-RSV PCR assay, BioMérieux BioFire Filmarray, and Luminex RVP Fast v2) on paediatric patients either in the Accident and Emergency department or admitted as an inpatient.

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Building evidence for the value of digital health products at DHACA

January has been a busy month for Aquarius Population Health, and our team members have spoken at and attended several fascinating events.  Our Managing Director, Dr Elisabeth Adams, presented at the invitation-only DHACA Day XI on the 18th January. Drawing from her extensive experience delivering health economic projects, Elisabeth provided key insights on how patient pathway mapping and economic evaluation help demonstrate the value of digital health products. Digital Health and Care Alliance (DHACA) is a non-for-profit organisation dedicated to sharing knowledge and advancing digital healthcare systems in the UK and Europe.

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Improving patient care with rapid point of care tests

Dr Elisabeth Adams, Managing Director of Aquarius Population Health, presented on opportunities for rapid tests in influenza and HPV at international conferences in June.

This has been a busy week for the Aquarius Population Health team. We had two posters at the Society for Medical Decision Making in London (12-15th June), which Elisabeth presented. The posters showcased results from two studies we have done looking at the impact of implementing a rapid near-patient test for influenza and RSV. This was a collaborative project with Enigma Diagnostics and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. Results indicated that a rapid test could improve clinical management of patients with influenza, and could save commissioners money. It also illustrated how a rapid test could prevent unnecessary isolation bed days compared to current practice (presumptive isolation while waiting for results of the standard laboratory test results for influenza).

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