Southampton researchers give NHS the EDGE in clinical trials
The way in which clinical research trials are managed in UK hospitals looks set to be transformed by a revolutionary next-generation software system developed by a Southampton-based research network.
James Batchelor and David Miller, from the University of Southampton, are the brains behind the EDGE platform which allows any research professional involved in a study to access, for the first time, detailed real-time data about its progress from any location via a secure web interface.
It could potentially bring huge efficiency savings across the NHS as it is the first software of its kind which can be implemented as a single system rather than across individual NHS trusts or research networks.
James is head of ICT and David is lead analyst of the Central South Coast Cancer Research Network, which is run from the Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre at the University of Southampton, in collaboration with Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust.
The system is already being trialled at a number of sites in England and is proving so successful that it is being heralded as a potential lynchpin in the delivery of Best Research for Best Health, the Government's strategy to make the UK a world-leader in clinical research.
James said: "EDGE negates the need for teams of data analysts in trust research and development departments to number crunch.
"It enables research nurses and other clinicians involved in trials to input directly participant accrual information and record use of time and resources.
"This enables co-ordinators at network level to draw reports on trial recruitment at the touch of a button and enables executive teams to ensure that trials are properly resourced and that they receive the correct level of funding to facilitate them."
The official launch of the EDGE today at the Association of British Healthcare Industries annual conference at Olympia, in London, means that many more networks and NHS trusts are likely to implement the system.
Dr John Stedman, Chief Executive of NHS Innovations South East (NISE), said: "A robust IT solution that enables NHS trusts and research networks to manage trials more effectively and meet their financial and performance reporting obligations more efficiently, has to be a huge step forward in delivering the Government's vision of a vibrant health research system.
"The fact that this solution was developed within the NHS is even better news."
NISE has supported the development of EDGE by assessing its commercial feasibility, developing a business case, formalising contracts, advising on intellectual property issues and launching edge as a commercial entity.
Notes for editors
The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship.
This is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine, and home to a range of world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies.
We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.
As one of the UK's top ten research universities, we offer first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research across a wide range of subjects in humanities, health, science and engineering.
We have over 22,000 students, around 5,000 staff, and an annual turnover in the region of £325 million.
For further information
Liz Gilbride, Communications, University of Southampton,
Tel: 023 8059 2128, email: L.Gilbride@soton.ac.uk