Smoking and diabetes studies win health innovation grant

21 Jan 2013

Two primary care studies into major health prevention areas – smoking and diabetes – have each won £10k grants in the inaugural QInnovation Award.

A study assessing the safety of a smoking cessation drug and another to develop best practice in diabetes prevention for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) won over the judges by demonstrating an innovative approach to tackling key health issues.

The national award, launched by QResearch® – a not-for-profit partnership between GP software provider EMIS and The University of Nottingham – recognises best practice innovation that benefits patients or improves clinical care in primary health.

As well as receiving a £10k grant, each project will also gain access to QResearch®, one of the largest GP research databases in the world, and receive up to three days of time from an expert epidemiologist/statistician.

Aziz Sheikh, Professor of Primary Care Research & Development at the University of Edinburgh, will lead the smoking cessation study. It will evaluate the safety of prescription cessation aid varenicline for smokers suffering from COPD or similar conditions, who may be more susceptible to the drug’s potential side effects.

While studies have previously looked into the drug’s impact on the general smoking population, this is the first to examine the drug’s impact on ‘at risk’ patients of this nature.

Professor Sheikh said: “We are delighted to win this award and have the opportunity to work with QResearch data to answer a question of considerable scientific and clinical importance.”

Dr Daniel Kotz, the project’s lead researcher from the University of Maastricht, shares Professor Sheikh’s enthusiasm: “Smoking cessation remains a key priority for the NHS and this study will provide much needed clarity on the safety profile of an important treatment in a very important section of the population.”

The second winning project is led by GP Dr Tim Walter from Falkland Surgery in Newbury. Working in partnership with other EMIS Web practices, Dr Walter will use the QDiabetes tool to identify diabetes risk among 100,000 patients across the CCG locality, and implement intervention strategies to develop a ‘best practice’ toolkit that other CCGs can use for diabetes prevention.

Sean Riddell, Chief Executive of EMIS, said: “Dr Walter’s project is a prime example of translating health theory into practical, clinical benefit. By taking the QDiabetes risk assessment tool, and working with other practices in the CCG locality to monitor and report on process, resources (time and financial) required, intervention strategies and outcomes, the team will develop invaluable ‘best practice’ for other health communities.”

Dr Julia Hippisley-Cox, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and General Practice at The University of Nottingham and co-founder of QResearch® concluded: “Both projects demonstrated an innovative approach to two key issues for the NHS, based firmly in translating sound scientific study into outcomes that will benefit medical practitioners, patients and the general public – ultimately helping to improve UK health.”