Dr Murray Smith, health economist and econometrician, joins CaHRU

Dr Murray D Smith joined CaHRU this month in order to contribute expertise in health economics and econometrics to the work of the unit. He brings with him a collection of projects in health economics, including involvement in HEAT (helicobacter bacteria eradication in persons aged 65+ who are regularly using low dose aspirin) which is one of the largest randomised controlled medical trials ever to be conducted in this country.

Murray750Previous projects in which Murray was engaged in the capacity of health economics include a trial feasibility study amongst children with Down syndrome who have otitis media with effusion (“glue ear”), and the economic evaluation of a volunteer doula service targeted at pregnant women who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. A current project of Murray’s involves the econometric modelling of teicoplanin trough serum concentration levels, where teicoplanin, a glycopeptide antibiotic used to treat gram-positive bacterial infections, is administered daily as hospital outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy.

Bespoke computer programming provides a major contribution to the success of this and many of Murray’s other projects. Influencing his approach to computational work has been the use of symbolic computer algebra, oriented especially to tackle problems in mathematical statistics. In a long-standing collaboration with Colin Rose, outcomes of their work include the mathStatica┬ę software package that adds on to the Mathematica┬« programming language, with uses that are illustrated extensively throughout their book entitled Mathematical Statistics with Mathematica (2002; 2013).”

New implementation study to improve prescribing safety in general practice

P011354Professor Niro Siriwardena and the CaHRU team have been awarded a major grant from the Health Foundation under their Scaling Up Improvement programme. The project is led by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust supported by the University of Lincoln, University of Nottingham, the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network and 17 of the region’s Clinical Commissioning Groups.

medication_pillsThe aim of the study is to spread an intervention called PINCER (pharmacist-led information technology intervention for reducing clinically important errors in medication management) across East Midlands general practices and then more widely across the United Kingdom using a quality improvement collaborative, a model which CaHRU have used in previous projects.

reading1The project will provide participating GP practices access to computer software that automatically reviews prescriptions together with expert support from a pharmacist who will work with practice staff to review prescriptions and drugs monitoring. This will reduce the risk of drug errors and failure to monitor, particularly in those people with more than one long term condition on a combination of drugs. Pharmacists and GPs will share learning as part of the project.