Press Release

Funding boost to research multimorbidity in hospital patients

Published on 11 February 2021

The University of Dundee has received almost £500,000 as part of a multi-centre study aiming to improve understanding of multimorbidity in hospital patients.

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Portrait photo of Ewan Pearson

The University of Dundee has received almost £500,000 as part of a multi-centre study aiming to improve understanding of multimorbidity in hospital patients.

The £4 million, four-year ADMISSION project, led by Newcastle University, will focus on multiple long-term conditions in hospitalised patients. ADMISSION aims to transform understanding of how different conditions cluster or group together, why some groups of conditions affect people more often, and how hospital systems look after these patients.

The number of people who have more than one long-term health condition, known as multimorbidity, is growing. This is increasing pressure on healthcare providers, such as the NHS, as these patients have complex needs – often staying in hospital for longer and taking more time to recover.

Hospital systems are largely designed to treat single health conditions. Patients with multimorbidity often find their care is inefficient and unsatisfactory. For providers, this inefficiency translates into more costly care and potentially worse outcomes.

Despite the recognised importance of multimorbidity in patients, there has been little research in this area to date and the ADMISSIONS team want to find new ways to deliver hospital care. They will use cutting-edge data science, computing, and statistical approaches to analyse ‘big data’ from routinely collected healthcare records, along with information from the UK Biobank and the Scottish Health Research Register (SHARE).

Ewan Pearson, Professor of Diabetic Medicine at Dundee’s School of Medicine, said, “The ADMISSION consortium will identify which conditions cluster together in patients admitted to hospital.

“The unique resources available to us in Scotland, including SHARE, which consists of around 270,000 participants, allow us to analyse blood samples from groups of patients in hospital. We aim to identify genetic and other blood markers that will give us insight into the biological processes that underpin these clusters of disease, enabling us to repurpose treatment or even develop novel therapies that treat these groups of conditions.”

The collaboration will focus on how clusters of conditions occur across the population, the mechanisms that explain them, and their impact on patient pathways through healthcare. This knowledge will inform the design of future care and treatments, with potential both to reduce costs, and to improve health outcomes for the millions of patients with multimorbidity admitted to hospital each year.

The research is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Professor Miles Witham, Deputy Lead for NIHR Newcastle BRC’s Ageing Syndromes theme, is co-investigator of the ADMISSION study. He said, “The results of ADMISSION will provide a springboard for developing, testing and delivering novel approaches to transform care for people with multiple long-term conditions before, during and after admission to hospital.”

Newcastle University is leading the study, collaborating with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Birmingham, Manchester Metropolitan University, University College London and the University of Dundee.

More information can be found at www.admissioncollab.org.

Enquiries

Grant Hill

Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 384768

G.Hill@dundee.ac.uk

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