Our challenge  

To integrate services and encourage patients to take charge of their condition, whilst being at the forefront of new clinical research.

How we tackled it

Electronic health records have made a global-first possible for the Salford Lung Study (SLS) – the world’s first phase III pragmatic randomised control trial (RCT) in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The study is taking a novel ‘real world’ approach to trialling a new inhaled medicine on 2,800 COPD and more than 4,000 asthma patients, as they go about their usual daily lives. The study is a collaboration between The University of Manchester, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford CCG, local GP and community pharmacy staff, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and NorthWest EHealth (NWEH).

Initially utilising Salford’s local health record system, in which primary and secondary care records are integrated, it has allowed close monitoring of patients with minimal intrusion into their lives.

The study has since been rolled out across a much larger area of Greater Manchester, including South Manchester, Trafford and Stockport. NWEH has developed a bespoke, near real-time electronic monitoring system to manage the challenges associated with this unique trial. It works with over 75 GP practices and 120 local pharmacies responsible for dispensing the medication.

Dr David Leather, Global Medical Affairs Leader, GSK Respiratory Franchise said: “This study is a first in the world, testing a pre-license medicine in a real-world setting. It has only been possible due to the partnerships we’ve created together, our collaborators, the health care professionals and people of Salford.”

What changed

This is an ongoing clinical trial, however the development of this type of technology could change the way medicines are evaluated in the future. This means the safety and effectiveness of new medicines in the real world could be more fully understood earlier in the development programme. Patients could potentially get access to new medicines much more rapidly and there could also be significant economic benefits from a health service perspective.

In addition the technologies developed for the study can be re-used to evaluate new devices, diagnostics and care pathways which, if available across the whole of Greater Manchester, would have very significant health benefits.

Devolution focus

One of the ‘early implementation priorities’ is ‘Health Innovation Manchester’ which was launched in September 2015 and aims to speed up the discovery, development and delivery of new treatment for patients. This study was established before this and sets the standard of what it hopes to achieve.