New Flu Test and Treat Pilot Shows Promising Results in Alleviating Winter Pressures

New Flu Test and Treat Pilot Shows Promising Results in Alleviating Winter Pressures

A recent pilot conducted by Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland has shown promising results in the early diagnosis and treatment of the flu, potentially alleviating the winter pressures often faced by healthcare systems. The pilot aimed to test whether using rapid diagnostics and digital reporting in the community could lead to improved outcomes and a reduction in hospitalizations.

Flu is a common illness that affects a significant percentage of the population each year, contributing to the strain on healthcare systems during the winter months. However, diagnosing flu and other respiratory diseases can often be delayed until patients are already acutely unwell. This pilot sought to address this issue by identifying and treating patients with flu-like symptoms earlier.

Partnering with organizations such as the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the North West Coast, and Unity Insights, Roche Diagnostics designed a flu test and treat community pathway. The pilot was conducted in various locations across Yorkshire and the North West of England during the winter season.

During the pilot, around 43,000 clinically at-risk patients were invited to undergo testing upon developing flu symptoms. Out of the 250 at-risk individuals tested, 33 tested positive for the flu. Of these, 23 were prescribed antiviral treatments and six were prescribed antibiotics. Based on national averages, the pilot estimated that it prevented 17 hospitalizations, four deaths, and one admission to the intensive care unit (ICU).

It is estimated that the pilot resulted in potential cost savings of £37,000 ($49,000) from avoided hospital admissions and approximately £1,000 ($1,300) in avoided ICU admission costs. These findings demonstrate the value of rapid testing at the point of care in improving patient outcomes and reducing the burden on the healthcare system.

The success of this pilot builds on the collaboration and partnership between industry, the NHS, and the government during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides further evidence that similar approaches can be applied to address other health challenges.

While partnerships such as these have their challenges, such as finding capacity within the NHS workforce to develop and deliver innovations, there is a growing consensus on the importance of diagnostics in population health. Shifting towards a more proactive approach that catches illnesses early and prevents them from worsening can relieve pressure on the healthcare system in both the short and long term.

– Dr Ashton Harper, Head of Medical Affairs, Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland
– Source Article: (link removed)

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