Tell us a bit about your role
I’m a rheumatologist and NIHR Clinical Lecturer at Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, The University of Manchester, where I also work as part of the Greater Manchester Connected Health City research team. I lead the GM CHC pathfinder project on comparative safety of opioids for non-cancer pain with Prof Will Dixon. This project has provided the opportunity to analyse de-identified health data from Electronic Patient Records from secondary care records in Salford for drug safety research, for the first time. The overall aim of this research being to improve the understanding of how a number of factors such as opioid type, dosage, treatment duration and interactions with other medication can impact patient safety outcomes.
How did you hear about the ICES-Farr Institute research fellowship?
I heard about the ICES-Farr research fellowship Exchange programme from an advert through the Farr Institute (now HDR UK). In 2016, ICES and The Farr Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding, with the aim of fostering international collaboration and working together to further advancement in health data science. As part of this collaboration, the ICES-Farr Institute Exchange was set up to share learning and to build upon health data science projects taking place in both Canada and the UK.
Please will you tell us about your experience with the Research Fellowship Exchange Programme and what the key benefits were?
This was the first Research Fellowship programme to be run by ICES and Farr and it seemed a fantastic opportunity to work with an internationally renowned team, learning new scientific skills, whilst gaining insight into the impact of opioid use in Canada, specifically across Ontario. It allowed me to learn more about the healthcare system, patient journey in that region as well as observing their lessons learnt. I wanted to participate in the programme to further develop my skills in Prediction Modelling, apply techniques such as Machine Learning, whilst replicating some of our analyses from the GM CHC Opioid project, using linked data from The Ottawa Hospital and ICES to develop prediction models. The aim was to estimate the likelihood of life-threatening respiratory depression in new opioid users, and to assess future outcomes of patients who develop respiratory depression whilst in hospital. However, the project has now extended to assess outcomes beyond this, with planned continued access to the data whilst working with the ICES team, as an ongoing collaboration.
I worked over in Toronto and Ottawa from 1st July to 30th September of this year. As part of the fellowship I had the opportunity to attend the International Population Data Linkage (IPDLN) conference in Banff, which was co-hosted by ICES, and learn more about the impressive work within this research community.
I’d say that one of the highlights was being able to gain insight into a completely different healthcare system, overcoming the challenges of using routinely collected hospital data for research and working out new ways in which our research could help to improve patient outcomes. Another huge benefit for me was collaborating with such a fantastic multidisciplinary team of colleagues at ICES such as Profs Alan Forster, Carl van Walraven, Dr Tara Gomes and their teams, who lead work in patient safety, health services research and opioids pharmacoepidemiology respectively. Having now returned to Manchester, I look forward to developing our relationship with ICES further and am excited to see the future impact of our opioid research from both ICES and GM CHC.
To find out more about the Greater Manchester Connected Health City Opioid project, please visit the Opioid project page.
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