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Pathfinder - help beat diabetes

NWEH work with Salford project to deliver research capacity.

The challenge

The Care Call Centre based in Salford are involved in delivery of the NIHR Diabetes Research Network (DRN) Pathfinder project, ‘Help DiaBEATes’ http://www.researchforthefuture.org.

Help DiaBEATes is an initiative with the aim to encourage people with diabetes to get involved with research which could help improve care and treatments for the condition and help reduce the impact of diabetes on the population. The team leading this project had two challenges: how to develop software that supported the engagement with patients and how to match patients who have consented to approach for research against existing methods for feasibility studies and identifying research populations.

The solution

NWEH already provided FARSITE to the Greater Manchester Comprehensive Local Research Network (GMCLRN) and many of the team had experience in using FARSITE functionality for rapid search and find for research feasibility and research recruitment. FARSITE is a powerful profiling tool for rapidly searching, finding and contacting hard-to-find cohorts in a population whilst preserving their confidentiality. FARSITE provides integrated cross-boundary access to information for local healthcare delivery.Linking patients who consent to approach to the powerful FARSITE tool was the key to the solving the challenge.

After an initially meeting between the DRN project leads and the NWEH one of the expert software development team, Dr Paul Jarvis, was assigned to the project. Through a collaborative and iterative process the DRN team and NWEH, specified the requirements and designed online patient sign-up forms, a management console which tracks the interactions with volunteers and uses FARSITE to run feasibility studies and manage research recruitment. Once at testing phase, Care Call Centre staff were involved in giving their feedback on user acceptability and minor changes required. NWEH provided on-site training and on-going support services to the centre’s team of clinical advisors.

The outcome

Care Call Centre manager, Katherine Grady describes the impact of the development:

“Even during the pilot phase staff reported how easy, quick and intuitive FARSITE is to use and that it has enabled them to work much more efficiently.

The overall patient registration process is now quicker and more efficient. Patient data is recorded more accurately and can be searched more effectively. From my personal experience as a manager, I am able to report statistics much more quickly and the reporting function is available in ‘real time’ meaning the most accurate information is always available to project leads. Within the first week of piloting the new software enabled us to identify one area of our business process which required review and which had gone previously unnoticed on our legacy system. 

Working with NWEH was an extremely positive experience. They had in-depth understanding of NHS IT systems, procedures, processes and governance issues that needed to be considered which instilled confidence that an appropriate system would be designed. All NWEH staff I encountered were professional, courteous, reliable and friendly.  Care Call Centre staff fed back to me that the training they received on the new FARSITE system was one of the best IT training sessions they have ever attended. I would be happy to work with NWEH in the future and confident in their ability to deliver. "
Katherine Grady

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