As innovations emerge in health and social care, evaluation is vital to spreading best practice. We have considerable expertise mining rich information sources to help policy-makers and professionals decide where to direct investment in the interests of patients and taxpayers.
Taking full advantage of new technologies and new ways of providing care will be essential to meeting high standards of quality and efficiency in health and social care.
Yet tight spending and the need to safeguard patient wellbeing mean that rigorous evaluation is needed so that the implications and opportunities of innovations are fully understood.
We are supporting the NHS to find new ways of conducting evaluations which make maximum use of data collected by the service
Our Nuffield Trust Data Lab improves the capacity of health services to plot the paths of individual patients through complex care pathways, showing how treatments affect long-term health and demand for other forms of care.
We use these methods to answer crucial questions about how preventive care can help individuals to avoid hospital admissions.
Our project: Developing evaluation methods to help the NHS provide care more effectively, looks at ways to pair patients who have undergone certain treatments with ‘virtual control groups’ from their records alone, providing robust paired evidence without the need for complex randomised controlled trials.
Telecare and Telehealth: the Whole System Demonstrator
The Department of Health has highlighted telehealth and telecare as hugely promising new technologies, which could save thousands of lives while cutting costs.
Professor James Barlow, Imperial College London, on his role within the Whole System Demonstrator trial & how the evaluation has moved the evidence base on
These systems use information technology to facilitate care. Telecare provides early detection systems to patients and potential patients in their own homes; while telehealth enables professionals to communicate with each other and with patients remotely.
Evaluation will be crucial to making best use of telehealth and telecare in future, and we are one of the leading institutions evaluating its effectiveness through our participation in the Whole System Demonstrator programme. This is believed to be the largest ever randomised controlled trial into telehealth and telecare technologies.
Photo credit: Christiana Care, Flickr