Future blood testing for inclusive monitoring and personalised analytics Network+

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Business Informatics, Systems and Accoun

Abstract

There is an extremely high demand for laboratory-based blood tests from community settings in the UK and analysis suggests an important role in the future for remote blood monitoring that would enable patients and health professionals to carry out their own tests remotely, greatly benefiting patients and speeding up decision making. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for remote and connected blood testing that is beyond the online virtual clinics in the NHS outpatient setting. In current blood testing services for community healthcare, it is challenging to obtain and process blood samples outside of the clinical setting without training and lab facilities, and patients are required to attend a GP surgery or hospital for tests with travel burden and infection risk. Many blood analyses are done in batches that take a long time to build up, meaning the speed of blood sample analysis of routine tests and time taken for diagnosis are further challenges. Despite recent innovations in point of care, current blood analysis tools in practice are mainly mechanical or labour-intensive that require extensive filtering and manual tweaking and not suitable for regular at-home monitoring and longitudinal analytics. There is no personalised real-time approach available to inform disease complexity and conditions over time, which are critical for early detection of acute diseases and the management of chronic conditions. In England, around 95% of clinical pathways rely on patients having access to efficient, timely and cost-effective pathology services and there are 500 million biochemistry and 130 million haematology tests are carried out per year. This means inefficient and infrequent blood testing leads to late diagnosis, incomplete knowledge of disease progression and potential complications in a wide range of populations. Taking those challenges into account and current digital transformation in healthcare, this is a timely opportunity to bring researchers, clinicians and industrialist together to address the challenges of blood monitoring and analytics.
The proposed Network+ will build an interdisciplinary community that will explore future blood testing solutions to achieve remote, inclusive, rapid, affordable and personalised blood monitoring, and address the above challenges in community health and care. To achieve the Network+ vision, research of technologies will be conducted from collaborations among information and communication technology (ICT), data and analytical science, clinical science, applied optics, biochemistry, engineering and social sciences in the Network+. The network will address three key technical challenges in blood testing: Remote monitoring, ICT, Personalised data and AI in a range of examplar clinical areas including cancer, autoimmune diseases, sickle cell disease, preoperative care, pathology services and general primary care.

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