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HDRUK Northern "Better Care Partnership"

The HDR UK Northern ‘Better Care Partnership’ brings together world-class universities, digitally-enabled NHS institutions and academic health science systems. It serves over 16 million people in the North where the rates of poverty, morbidity, premature mortality and poorer clinical outcomes are higher than in other regions. The Partnership will initially focus on three projects towards better care for elderly people living with frailty. Each project employs extensive, available data and advanced analytical techniques to gain actionable insights for optimising delivery of care. We use early findings to expand the research and implementation, firstly across other Northern cities, in collaboration with the Northern Health Science Alliance and the four Academic Health Science Networks, and subsequently UK-wide.

Both Professor Andy Clegg, Professor of Geriatric Medicine, University of Leeds and Bradford Royal Infirmary, and Monica Jones, Chief Data Officer at DATA-CAN, University of Leeds are Associate Directors for the Programme. Since 1 May 2020 when the partnership came into effect we have made good progress. A full-time Partnership Manager has been appointed. The governance structure is in place and there are regular Executive and Scientific committee meetings, including PPPIE representatives being appointed. We have held workshops for discussions with AHSNs and access to leadership of NHS and academic institutions through Oversight Board – first meeting planned for November 2020. The three initial projects are:

Project 1Development of a learning system to optimise anticholinergic medication prescribing for older people living with frailty (led by Andy). This project aims to develop a tool to help doctors and pharmacists review a patient’s broader medical history to allow more appropriate prescribing of anticholinergic medications. This will help older people living with frailty by reducing the risk of harmful side effects caused by these medications, which can lead to hospital admissions.

Project 2Learning Care Homes: Continuous improvement of structured referrals. This project aims to evaluate and improve a Digital Care Homes app to support decision-making by care home and community staff when a care home resident becomes unwell. This process will allow the community NHS team to make an action plan and hopes to reduce unnecessary hospital attendances, allowing residents to be cared for in their own environment where appropriate.

Project 3Better antibiotic prescribing in frail elderly people with polypharmacy. This project aims to use an advanced analytics approach to support doctors in deciding when to prescribe antibiotics to frail elderly patients, avoiding the adverse side effects of inappropriate prescribing.

There are a number of cross cutting themes including Data Architecture, Governance and Curation (led by Monica), PPIE, training and data science to make sure everything is aligned. The HDR UK funding is for three years initially.

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