It was a proud moment for one of Connected Health Cities’ PhD students who was recently invited to present her research at a prestigious conference.
Based at Lancaster University, Nicola Platt is currently examining data flows in alcohol-use disorder care pathways to understand how these processes may be used to improve clinical and process outcomes in healthcare delivery.
Nicola was asked to share her findings at the Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative (NARTI) Annual Doctoral Conference in Manchester.
NARTI is a network of research-led business and management schools from universities across the North of England. Its aim is to advance research capacity and impact amongst doctoral and early career scholars in business and management.
It holds an annual two-day conference with the focus on advanced research training, publication guidance and establishing professional networks for academics from 18 universities across the north of England.
Nicola’s presentation was on the topic of ‘Understanding how data generated by health IT systems can be used to improve clinical and process outcomes in alcohol-use disorder care pathways.’ She explained how alcohol misuse is one of the key clinical areas of focus for the North West Coast Connected Health City (CHC).
As part of her research, Nicola is studying alcohol care pathways in the Blackpool area, looking into the scale of its alcohol dependency problem and high number of alcohol-related hospital admissions which make the town an exemplar case site.
She has been busy interviewing staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, as well as health and social care professionals in the community to understand their data collection and data handling practices which will then be transcribed and analysed.
Nicola explained: “The conference is a networking opportunity for academics from research-led universities and has a heavy emphasis on training for publication, so publishing quality research in top-tier journals.
“I introduced my research-to-date and explained how my work it fits within the larger CHC project. Many of the other delegates were unaware of the problems relating to the flow of patient data, so it was good to introduce my study and the wider CHC project to a new audience who were very interested.
“My study is concerned with the mechanisms that facilitate data flow between teams within a care pathway for patients admitted to hospital with alcohol related health problems.
“I am looking at the various teams that a patient encounters through the course of their hospital stay; subsequent treatment and support in the community; and how the patient data that supports care delivery moves along the course of the pathway.
“My study will concentrate on sources of data and how it is shared amongst the various teams throughout the patient’s journey to understand data coordination across the many interdependent boundaries between teams within the pathway.
“It is important to understand the processes behind data flow through care pathways in order to highlight areas of best practice that may be shared with others, and to highlight areas of weakness where improvements may be made, that will enable more effective communication and collaboration between services.”
As well as gaining PhD, Nicole hopes her study will provide the necessary insight to enable services and units at all stages to understand the entire process, to see where their contribution lies and to understand the impact of their practices on those of others, with the aim of highlighting any areas of weakness that may be addressed.