Assessing the impact of point-of-care testing for influenza and RSV in children admitted to hospital

The winter flu season brings added pressure to emergency and acute hospital services. In the UK, children and infants account for more than a third of flu related hospital admissions since flu and respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV) can be particularly severe in children, particularly those with existing conditions such as asthma.

In our recent paper published, we report the results of a real-world evaluation conducted in a busy children’s hospital in central London. We assessed the impact and economic benefits of using a 90-minute point-of-care (POC) assay to test for influenza and RSV in children and infants admitted to hospital. This was done by comparing data collected from an acute paediatric ward during one flu season, when standard laboratory testing was used, with data collected from the same ward in the subsequent flu season, when the POC test was in use.

Results of the evaluation showed that when POC testing was being used, more children with flu received oseltamivir, the antiviral treatment recommended for the treatment of flu (an increase from 13% to 40%). Although there was no statistically significant difference in the average length of hospital stay (2 days in both cases), overall laboratory costs and reimbursement charges for hospital admissions were less when POC testing was in use, indicating that the POC testing meant that fewer laboratory tests, procedures and interventions were performed during admissions.

The results of the evaluation suggest that POC testing for flu and RSV in children admitted to hospital could be beneficial to the children and their families, and to the wider health system through the knock-on cost savings. It is possible that similar POC testing in hospital emergency departments, prior to admission, could be beneficial and this certainly warrants further investigation.

If you’re interested in reading the article in full, please request a copy by emailing caroline.dombrowski@aquariusph.com.

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Aquarius supports the Royal Marsden as they assess an innovative device for breast cancer surgery

In the latest episode of the BBC’s show, “Trust me, I’m a Doctor”, an innovative new product called Magseed is being trialled to improve surgery for women with breast cancer. A tiny magnetic seed is being used to transform how cancerous tissue is localised so that it can be removed, rather than using traditional guide wires. This helps the surgeons pinpoint exactly where they need to operate, and which angle is the best to approach the tumour. Much smaller tumours are currently being detected through the breast cancer screening programme, which are more difficult to find during surgery using guide wires.

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Evaluating the use AMR POCT in treatment of gonorrhoea

Aquarius Population Health recently worked with the Applied Diagnostic Research & Evaluation Unit (ADREU) at St. Georges, University of London, to assess the cost-effectiveness of six hypothetical strategies for using antimicrobial resistance point-of-care testing to guide the treatment of gonorrhoea.  Our findings were presented at the STI & HIV World Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [Wednesday 12th July, Session 15: STI/HIV testing and management].

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Evaluating multi-bug point-of-care tests for sexually transmitted infections

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.

This work was presented at the STI and HIV World Congress which takes place July 9-12 in Rio de Janeiro. The poster can be seen here.

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Integrating Personalised Medicine into the NHS

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.

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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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