Fast ASsessment and Treatment in Healthcare (FAST Healthcare)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering


NHS England produced a publication in its 65th anniversary year (2013) entitled 'The NHS Belongs to the People: A Call to Action'. It articulates the aspiration to deliver the very highest standards of patient care against the reality that the projected total cost of running NHS England will rise from £95Bn in 2013 to £137Bn in 2020, whilst the resource will only rise to £108Bn in the same period. There are a number of factors that are leading to rising costs, and the Call to Action highlights poorly joined-up care between adult social care, community services and hospitals as one of these. This project aims to address this issue.

The NHS currently delivers healthcare to patients across a number of different levels depending on need, from non-specialist treatment in GP surgeries and community health centres through to specialised treatment at local or regional hospitals. As a patient moves from community treatment towards hospital-based treatment, both the length of time for treatment and the cost increase. Therefore, it is important that patients are treated as close to their own communities as possible for as long as that is effective as this will reduce cost. There is a benefit to patient experience too. Moving treatment back to a community-delivered level increases patient involvement. This means that they are better informed as they have to take greater responsibility for themselves. Therefore, reducing the cost of healthcare does not mean a poorer service. Quite the reverse can be true and the potential to both improve the experience of patients and reduce the cost could be made possible by developing a new methodology for the clinical diagnostics and treatment process.

This can be realised by taking a systems-based engineering approach to designing such a new methodology which is then enabled by appropriate technological and medical advances and permits a holistic approach to care delivered in a joined-up fashion across the health service.

Thesult will be Fast ASsessment and Treatment in Healthcare (FAST Healthcare). Fast assessment is essential to the process. At whatever point a patient enters the healthcare system, a decision is required as to how treatment should progress and subsequently how and where it should be delivered. A holistic view of the healthcare system would permit seamless care from communities to hospitals. This is then followed up by fast delivery of treatment, and overall optimised treatment.

Our Aim can therefore be summarised as follows: to initiate systems-based engineered methodologies for providing joined-up treatment in the public health sector.

Planned Impact

In the context of the overall Network's Objectives, the impact aims of this project are:
1. building a research community. This is achieved by bringing clinical and engineering and physical sciences researchers together in roadmapping workshops. In addition, we aim to establish FAST Heathcare as a strategic theme in one of our partner Universities by building on the highly interdisciplinary nature of the research field.
2. developing early-career researchers. One of the assessment criteria of the initiator projects will be the extent to which they include early-career researchers in the collaborative team, so that they can develop their research portfolio in the healthcare sector and learn from more experienced coleagues.
3. fostering new research collaborations. The initiator projects will allow new research collaborations to form, but we will also follow up these projects with a funded programme to help them translate this initial research into a lasting, funded research activity. Action Teams will be appointed with the sole aim of making this transition.
4. directing the research agenda in optimising treatment. The Roadmaps will be made publicly available with an associated commentary in plain English directed at a non-EPS community. We will make a particular effort to publicise this widely to the EPS and clinical research communities in the UK.
5. transforming treatment processes. We aim to partner the initiator project research teams with clinicians who would employ the research outputs and to engage both parties in the process of taking the results of the projects forward into more significant research activity. We will also run Clinical Roadshows to showcase both initiator project reseault and the roadmaps to clinicians, patient groups and policy-makers.


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Description We have started to develop a roadmap for the assessment and treatement of cardiovascular disease which will be shortly published on the Network website.
Exploitation Route This project will lead to new research collaborations in the area of Fast Assessment and Treatment in Healthcare. It is already leading to new work between engineers and clinical managers looking at assessment and treatment pathways.
Sectors Healthcare

Description Fast Assessment and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was the first Workshop of the FAST Healthcare NetworksPlus. It brought together a mixture of engineers and physical scientists (~1/3 of participants) with clinicians (~1/3 of participants) with clinical managers and industrialists (~1/3 of participants) to discuss and roadmap the assessment and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The roadmap is being written up for public disemmination via the Network website. It has already resulted in follow-up meetings between participants leading to new research activities between engineers/physical scientists and medics/clinical managers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017