Evidence
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Early warning scores used in hospitals must be based on sound science

Early warning scores have been used in UK hospitals since the late 1990s to minimise harm to patients. They are designed to highlight deterioration of a patient’s health using measurements of temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and other easily-measured signs.  Research has shown that changes in these signs could mean patients are at increased risk ...

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New tool for assessing the severity of type 2 diabetes could help personalise treatment and improve outcomes

A new severity scoring system for type 2 diabetes may be better at identifying patients at risk of declining health than the current commonly used blood test. The Diabetes Severity Score (DISSCO) is a computer algorithm that combines information routinely collected in primary care. Researchers found that a higher DISSCO score was linked to an ...

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Lung health checks in supermarket car parks reach older smokers in deprived communities

Tests carried out on mobile units parked in supermarket car parks were a popular and effective way to check the lungs of at-risk current and former smokers in a study in Manchester.     Simple tests of lung function in these mobile units found more than a third of those screened had evidence of airflow obstruction. This ...

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Damage to kidneys and eyes may start before people are diagnosed with diabetes

One in two people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes already have damage to their eyes, kidneys or heart. That damage is more likely if they had problems with blood sugar control before being diagnosed. Diabetes causes damage to blood vessels, because of poorly-controlled levels of sugar in the blood. These damaged blood vessels can lead ...

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New research supports the move to raise the blood pressure target for frail older people

Frail older people may not benefit from the same tight blood pressure control that has been shown to benefit relatively younger, healthier groups in existing trials. The medical records of more than 400,000 patients in primary care were reviewed. The researchers found that lower than normal blood pressures were associated with a higher death rate ...

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Interactive dashboard identifies patients at risk of unsafe prescribing in a flexible and sustainable way

The Salford Medication Safety Dashboard (SMASH) was successfully used in general practices with the help of on-site pharmacists. SMASH is a web application that flags up a list of patients who are potentially at risk from medicines they have been prescribed.  There was an initial period of increased workload when SMASH was used to review ...

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Public health messages on alcohol need to consider how and why people drink, not just how much

Public health messages about alcohol could be more effective if they reflect how and why patients drink, rather than simply focusing on how much alcohol is being consumed. There may be a need for more relevant public health campaigns to raise awareness of the long-term consequences of heavy drinking.   GPs can help patients reduce their ...

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GPs who make the most urgent referrals for cancer see the fewest cancer deaths among their patients

GP practices across England vary in how frequently they make urgent referrals for suspected cancer. Patients from general practices which make the most urgent referrals are more likely to have their cancer diagnosed at an early stage. A new study found that they are about 4% less likely to die within 5 years. This is ...

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Decision aids quickly and accurately rule out heart attack for almost half of all patients tested

Decision aids provided immediate reassurance to almost half of all patients arriving at emergency departments with a suspected heart attack. Use of the aids, which are based on a single blood test, accurately ruled out heart attacks in patients with relevant symptoms. Aids could provide early reassurance for worried patients and families and avoid many ...

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A simple test may predict the risk of hospitalisation for flare-up in patients with COPD, a common lung disease

The sit-to-stand test, which requires only a chair and a stopwatch, could identify patients with a common lung disease who are at high risk of being admitted to hospital. Researchers found that the test, which takes less than five minutes to perform, also predicted the length of their hospital stay. The study looked at patients ...

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