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Screening project shows early success

The Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) is supporting researchers from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust as a pioneering point of care testing project moves into the next stage.

Last year the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN supported the Trust with initial work to assess the effectiveness of point of care testing for patients requiring Computerised Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and who may be at risk of developing acute kidney injury.

Currently patients undergoing CT or MRI scans that require use of a contrast media or dye to improve the visibility of internal organs and structures need an up to date renal function test before they can have a scan. If patients do not have an up to date renal function blood test, then it could mean their appointment has to be postponed, resulting in a potential delay in diagnosis as well as underuse of key NHS resources.

A team of radiographers and researchers at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, with the support of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, the National Institute for Health Research Leeds Diagnostic Evidence Collaborative (DEC) and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has been trialling new methods for using the latest point of care renal function blood test kits and comparing them to standard laboratory results.

With the help of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, the team at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust compared results obtained through the usual laboratory tests and those from point of care testing machines in more than 300 outpatients.

Evaluation of this work has proved that point of care testing is accurate and the programme is now in its second stage to assess the impact on patient pathways, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

This will ultimately allow for a redesign of the pathway so that patients can have a blood test if needed at the same time as their appointment and the results will be immediately available to clinicians.

The work is being funded through a £115,000 grant from the National Cancer Diagnostic Fund and the application for this was also supported by the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN.

Carl Greatrex, Head of Innovation Adoption at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “The team behind this project have done some great work which, in time, will not only benefit patients who will no longer have to have their scans cancelled or delayed because of the need for a blood test but it will also ensure that NHS resources are utilised to maximum effect as well as having economic benefits.

“This is a ground-breaking project supporting patient safety that will make a real difference in the way these services are delivered and we are proud to be actively involved in it.”

Trust Lead Consultant Radiographer Bev Snaith is leading the research alongside Martine Harris, Senior CT Research Radiographer. This is the first time a researcher within the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has acted as the Chief Investigator on this type of study.

Research Manager at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Judith Holliday said: “This study is a great example of how research developed by clinicians here at Mid Yorkshire is providing the evidence base for improvements to patient care. We thank the many patients who have given their time to take part in the study.”

A steering group has been set up to drive forward this important stage made up of representatives from Mid Yorkshire and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trusts, Leeds University and the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN.

The study is part of the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) portfolio of studies. This consists of high-quality clinical research studies that are eligible for consideration for support from the Clinical Research Network in England.