Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New system developed to monitor deaths in general practice

28.07.2003


Researchers from Imperial College London have developed a system using statistical control charts to help monitor mortality rates in general practice.

Although the system, details of which are published online today in The Lancet, was developed as a practical response to monitoring issues raised by the Harold Shipman case, it can also be used to monitor variations in the quality of care between GPs and practices.

Dr Paul Aylin, one of the paper’s authors, from Imperial College London comments: “Following the Shipman affair it became clear that no method existed to monitor mortality rates in general practice.



“One use of this system would be to help stop a repeat of the Shipman affair, but tools such as this could also help in monitoring the performance of GPs and their practices by continuously keeping track of mortality rates.

“We envisage these methods being used as a governance tool for monitoring performance since they enable a first-pass analysis of the data and can highlight units with an unusual outcome. We caution however, that the charts themselves cannot shed light on the reasons for apparent poor performance.

“Excess mortality will not necessarily mean bad practice or even criminal behaviour. Excess mortality could result from many different situations. For example, practices involved in terminal care for cancer patients or treating patients in a number of nursing homes. The system can also be used to help spot GPs or practices with particularly low mortality rates, which may be indicative of good practice.
“Any GPs or practices that are seen as having unusual mortality patterns could be investigated further through audit. This process could be improved by the collection of additional information on the death certificate.”

Dr Nicky Best, an author of the paper, from Imperial College London comments: “If the NHS is to deliver high quality cost effective care leading to improved health through guidance, audit and best practice, it needs high quality and timely information. Any method, for analysing and comparing performance, no matter how sophisticated, will founder if this is unavailable.”

The researchers collected data from more than 1000 GPs (including Shipman) or practices over five health authority areas between 1993 and 1999, linking information from death certificates and patient lists. From this they were able to work out how many patients died per GP or practice.

In order to calculate a figure from which abnormal mortality rates could be established, local reference rates were derived from the age and year specific mortality rates for the relevant Health Authority.

The researchers then plotted the mortality figures by year on to a graph using a CUSUM (Cumulative Sum) method. This allowed the researchers to monitor the mortality figure year on year, highlighting any unusual trends in mortality. If the cumulative difference between the observed mortality and the reference rates exceeded a pre-defined threshold, this signalled a warning that the mortality rates for the GP or practice in question warranted further investigation.

Tony Stephenson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Why might reading make myopic?
18.07.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>