A patient-centred approach to the treatment of allergy-related diseases
NHS consultants and trainees have reported improvements in care and wellbeing as a result of this innovative approach. The carers interviewed in a 2019 survey reported 100 per cent satisfaction following treatment due to their changed care plan, their involvement in treatment decisions and the collaborative approach of their clinicians.
The research has increased awareness of the benefits of a patient-centred approach to the treatment of allergy-related diseases to both healthcare professionals and the public. To extend the clinical impact the research team disseminated their key research findings across a series of events in 2015-2016. This included study days for 43 trainee GPs in Sussex, 44 attendees of the National Medical Students Paediatric Conference and presentations to 48 child health professionals in India through links with the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. Feedback from these events indicates that over 92 per cent of the professional audience had better awareness of how a poor response to asthma medicine could result from genetic variation in patients.
Following the dissemination events, the team tailored their findings to a health professional audience and disseminated them via presentations and commentary pieces in key UK health channels: Royal College of General Practitioners, websites for the journals Pulse and Nursing in Practice. To build on this impact, the Royal College of General Practitioners has made this material available through its website and the research into genetic predisposition and its implications for patient care has been incorporated into their Continuing Professional Development. The research underpins key guidance in the Royal College of General Practitioners' e-learning module on allergy, developed in partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific. This course is designed to educate GPs about the various presentations of allergic disease, how to assess an atopic patient and when to investigate in primary care or refer to secondary care and has been completed by over 5,000 healthcare practitioners across the UK since its launch.
In collaboration with the arts group Same Sky, the team organised and presented their work at a public participation event (May 2016) as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival. The views of the public, captured on video, indicate an increased understanding of a personalised approach to treatment and an interest in participating in the debate around this subject. Similar results were seen at the New Scientist Science Festival, London (2018) where members of the public visiting the ‘Personalised Medicine’ stand reported a substantial increase in their understanding of how genes affect the way we respond to medicines and how genes affect diseases. The research findings were also presented to two primary schools in rural Portugal and three schools in rural and urban West Bengal, India, increasing awareness among teaching staff and children of the potential benefits of personalised medicine.