HOW cutting edge medical research can save the NHS money was the subject of the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre’s (BRC) first ever Health Economics Symposium.
Oxford Hospitals NHS Trust and University of Oxford researchers met at St Catherine’s College, Oxford to evaluate how BRC-funded research was having an economic impact on NHS care.
During the symposium, discussions were held by three groups comprising the 30 people who attended the Thursday April 16 event.
These included how the use of barcode patient identification, bedside handheld computers and electronically controlled blood fridges have improved the safety and efficiency of transfusion and how electronic blood ordering and decision support are cutting blood transfusion costs at Oxfordshire hospitals.
They also included a project to replace bedside charts with tablet computers, the System of Electronic Notification and Documentation (SEND), which is being rolled out across Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust sites.
Staff use the tablets to record and evaluate patients’ vital signs and the technology alerts them to early signs of patient deterioration. It also means patient data can be accessed by staff from tablets and desk top computers across trust hospitals, reducing time taken to locate paper charts.
The symposium was supported by a paper outlining the different methods of evaluating the health and economic benefits of research by the Office of Health Economics (OHE).
Deputy Director of OHE Jon Sussex and Alastair Gray, Director of the Health Economics Research Centre at the University of Oxford, addressed delegates.
Feedback from the meeting will now be given to BRC researchers and staff.
The event was chaired by BRC director, Professor Keith Channon, who said: “This was a very successful event which highlighted the striking clinical and economic impact of the research supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
“Research can provide huge cost benefits to the NHS through new discoveries, by improving productivity and efficiency, and by the broader benefits to the quality of clinical care.”