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Our current projects

We are extremely lucky to be involved in, and to advise on, some very exciting pieces of work. Current Community Involvement projects are listed below.

Primary care network health inequity project

The team is working with nine primary care networks (PCNs) located in parts of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) Integrated Care System (ICS) with a higher risk of health inequity. BOB ICS is funding these PCNs to tackle specific problems which affect equality (e.g. language barriers, vaccine reluctance, childhood asthma).  The team will work with each PCN during 2023/24 to learn lessons about this approach.

Healthy Hearts project

As part of AHSNs’ national focus on lipids management, we wanted to understand why heart health services are not as effective for some parts of our population. The project identified three groups as being at particular risk (Polish community, communities experiencing economic deprivation and the South Asian community). Working collaboratively with these communities and local public health colleagues, the CIWI team has improved the quality of dialogue and insight. Conversations are ongoing, with communities in Slough and Birmingham now working directly with public health colleagues to create solutions. Read a short case study about the Healthy Hearts project and our findings here.

Point-of-care test for detection of breast cancer spread

We are working with Oxford-based diagnostics start-up Seroxo on their clinical project funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), testing their LIT point-of-care test with breast cancer patients. The LIT test requires a small drop of blood from a finger prick and produces a result in ten minutes. These tell doctors how well a patient’s immune system is functioning, and can detect when a cancer patient’s disease has progressed to the metastatic stage. We were a co-applicant on this award, and are leading on the patient and public involvement PPI) work, ensuring all aspects of the research include the perspective of patients and the public.

Artificial intelligence (AI) helping to detect cancer in tissue samples

Medical analytics company IBEX has developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool called Galen Breast to help find cancer in tissue samples. This tool can support histopathologists to reduce workload, increase the accuracy and reliability of breast cancer identification and reduce the time taken to get results to patients. As a co-applicant on this Government backed award, funded by the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative and NIHR, we are delivering the PPI package. We will ensure that the views of members of the public and of people with lived experience are included in governance and design of the study. We will codesign discussions between patients and clinicians to plan and deliver dissemination activities, and to gather insight into understanding and developing trust in AI.

Together for Health Equity community of practice

The team convenes a community of practice made up of people who share a common interest in tackling health inequalities and addressing health equity. It includes healthcare practitioners, academics, community leaders, patients and carers. Follow this link to find out more about how to get involved in this project delivered in partnership with Hexitime and the Health Foundation.

Automated telemedicine – understanding patients’ trust and experience 

An automated clinical assistant called Dora has been designed by Ufonia to improve and streamline care following routine cataract surgery. The team has tested this system with people who have a wide range of life experiences (including a partnership with My Life My Choice, an Oxfordshire-based charity for people with learning disabilities). This has provided useful feedback for the designers, including ideas for adaptations which they would find valuable. The system has potential to be used in lots of other situations too: for example, the team has tested it with people undergoing tests for head and neck cancer. Read more about Oxford AHSN’s involvement in developing and evaluating this automated telemedicine initiative in this case study.

Understanding and using patient data – secure data environments

There is an increased focus nationally on how to improve access to data whilst maintaining the highest standards of security and confidentiality. Secure Data Environments (SDEs) are data storage and access platforms. Dr Sian Rees, Health Innovation Oxford & Thames Valley’s Director of Community Involvement and Workforce Innovation, chairs the Thames Valley and Surrey Care Records ethics and advisory group and has been funded to establish an SDE, owned and run by the NHS, covering Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Milton Keynes and Surrey. Read more about our secure data environments project here.