£1.7m funding to examine how data can improve population health

Award will explore how ‘real world’ evidence can inform National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance
Laurie Tomlinson will investigate the use of healthcare data

Professor Laurie Tomlinson has been awarded a National Institute for Healthcare Research (NIHR) Research Professorship worth £1.7m to explore how routinely-collected healthcare data can be used to improve clinical guidance.

This fixed 5-year award allows outstanding academics to work at professorial level based at a higher education institution, in partnership with an NHS organisation or another provider of health, public health and/or care services.

Her research topic, “INTEGRATE: Using routinely-collected healthcare data to inform clinical guidance and improve population health,” will look at how real-world healthcare data can address important health questions such as the effects and safety of prescribed drugs.

Such results may be particularly important when there is no evidence or uncertainty from randomised trials. At present observational data is little used to develop guidelines as there is concern that the results are less robust than that from randomised trials.

Professor Tomlinson said: “I look forward to working with NICE to examine whether this ‘real-world’ evidence can inform and increase the impact of their clinical guidance. In addition to studying specific research questions to address areas of uncertainty, we will also examine inequality in guideline implementation by studying variation in uptake by sex, ethnicity, income and region. This could help to target efforts to improve uptake of guidance in areas of need and potentially lead to improved population health and to lower healthcare costs.”

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