A major new collaboration has been launched aimed at improving diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular patients across Wales.
The Next Generation Population Health in NHS Wales project will see Hywel Dda University Health Board, Swansea University and global biotechnology firm Amgen working together over the next two years.
The level of cardiovascular disease (CVD) health need across all regions is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS in Wales today. Services and care for the patients with, or at risk of, CVD varies considerably in different areas, particularly when it comes to identifying high-risk patients and the adoption of evidence-based guidelines in treatment.
As a result, there are not only significant gaps in care and outcomes for patients but also a significant drain on resources and finances.
The project will see Amgen make a significant investment to help develop a Learning Laboratory for population risk prediction as well as research to evaluate the effectiveness of high-intensity specialised clinics, which will involve both Hywel Dda and Swansea Bay University Health Boards. The key focus of the work will be on targeting better outcomes for CVD patients.
The project will use the existing data and informatics ecosystem at the University’s SAIL Databank to analyse data to develop systems identifying patients at high risk of future disease. In addition, it will examine the effectiveness of the pharmacist-led clinics in reducing the treatment gap and ensuring high-risk cardiovascular patients are identified and then seen by the right person, in the right setting, at the right time.
Hywel Dda UHB Director for Research, Innovation and University Partnerships Dr Leighton Phillips added: ‘‘We are pleased to be supporting this important project through our TriTech Institute. It offers the chance of identifying patients at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease at an earlier point and taking steps with them to improve their health and quality of life.
“The project also highlights the innovative life science partnerships, with leading companies like Amgen, that are now underway in South West Wales and the associated benefits for patients and clinicians.’’
The initial launch of the collaboration brought together key partners who will be working together on the project at an informal launch held at Swansea University Medical School.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean and Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences Professor Keith Lloyd said: “This partnership demonstrates what can happen when you bring together research, clinical expertise and innovative technology for the benefit of patients.
“Collaborations like these are crucial to helping us achieve our long-term goal of improving the health of the Welsh population and nurturing a thriving life science industry.
“At Swansea University we are very proud to be playing such an important role in this exciting project.”
Dr Tony Patrikios, Medical Director for Amgen in the UK and Ireland, added: “Approximately 340,000 people in Wales are living with heart disease, a condition that causes around 9,500 deaths each year, according to British Heart Foundation figures.
“Tackling a public health challenge of this scale requires fresh thinking and innovative new approaches – such as those we hope to deliver through this partnership – to create tailored, cost-effective solutions that drive better outcomes for patients.”