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Economic models play a central role in the decision-making process of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Inadequate validation methods allow for errors to be included in economic models. These errors may alter the final recommendations and have a significant impact on outcomes for stakeholders.
To describe the patterns of technical errors found in NICE submissions and to provide an insight into the validation exercises carried out by the companies prior to submission.
All forty-one single technology appraisals (STAs) completed in 2017 by NICE were reviewed and all were on medicines. The frequency of errors and information on their type, magnitude, and impact was extracted from publicly available NICE documentation along with the details of model validation methods used.
Two STAs (5 percent) had no reported errors, nineteen (46 percent) had between one and four errors, sixteen (39 percent) had between five and nine errors, and four (10 percent) had more than ten errors. The most common errors were transcription errors (29 percent), logic errors (29 percent), and computational errors (25 percent). All STAs went through at least one type of validation. Moreover, errors that were notable enough were reported in the final appraisal document (FAD) in eight (20 percent) of the STAs assessed but each of these eight STAs received positive recommendations.
Technical errors are common in the economic models submitted to NICE. Some errors were considered important enough to be reported in the FAD. Improvements are needed in the model development process to ensure technical errors are kept to a minimum.
For many decades, there were stock exchanges operating in provincial cities across Britain. We analyze why companies listed on these markets and how this changed over time. We find that the provincial exchanges had traditionally been complementary to London, providing a trading venue for smaller regional companies. However, they gradually lost their uniqueness and were increasingly competing with London by listing similar stocks. Much of this change can be explained by shifts in industrial composition, leading to more companies being headquartered and listed in the capital and many of the remaining regional firms cross-listing in London to achieve certification.
We present the results of a combined experimental and theoretical study of drop coalescence in the presence of an initial temperature difference
between a drop and a bath of the same liquid. We characterize experimentally the dependence of the residence time before coalescence on
for silicone oils with different viscosities. Delayed coalescence arises above a critical temperature difference
that depends on the fluid viscosity: for
, the delay time increases as
for all liquids examined. This observed dependence is rationalized theoretically through consideration of the thermocapillary flows generated within the drop, the bath and the intervening air layer.
Geochemical and related studies have been made of near-surface sediments from the River Clyde estuary and adjoining areas, extending from Glasgow to the N, and W as far as the Holy Loch on the W coast of Scotland, UK. Multibeam echosounder, sidescan sonar and shallow seismic data, taken with core information, indicate that a shallow layer of modern sediment, often less than a metre thick, rests on earlier glacial and post-glacial sediments. The offshore Quaternary history can be aligned with onshore sequences, with the recognition of buried drumlins, settlement of muds from quieter water, probably behind an ice dam, and later tidal delta deposits. The geochemistry of contaminants within the cores also indicates shallow contaminated sediments, often resting on pristine pre-industrial deposits at depths less than 1m. The distribution of different contaminants with depth in the sediment, such as Pb (and Pb isotopes), organics and radionuclides, allow chronologies of contamination from different sources to be suggested. Dating was also attempted using microfossils, radiocarbon and 210Pb, but with limited success. Some of the spatial distribution of contaminants in the surface sediments can be related to grain-size variations. Contaminants are highest, both in absolute terms and in enrichment relative to the natural background, in the urban and inner estuary and in the Holy Loch, reflecting the concentration of industrial activity.
New approaches are needed to safely reduce emergency admissions to hospital by targeting interventions effectively in primary care. A predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) identifies each registered patient's risk of an emergency admission in the following year, allowing practitioners to identify and manage those at higher risk. We evaluated the introduction of PRISM in primary care in one area of the United Kingdom, assessing its impact on emergency admissions and other service use.
We conducted a randomized stepped wedge trial with cluster-defined control and intervention phases, and participant-level anonymized linked outcomes. PRISM was implemented in eleven primary care practice clusters (total thirty-two practices) over a year from March 2013. We analyzed routine linked data outcomes for 18 months.
We included outcomes for 230,099 registered patients, assigned to ranked risk groups.
Overall, the rate of emergency admissions was higher in the intervention phase than in the control phase: adjusted difference in number of emergency admissions per participant per year at risk, delta = .011 (95 percent Confidence Interval, CI .010, .013). Patients in the intervention phase spent more days in hospital per year: adjusted delta = .029 (95 percent CI .026, .031). Both effects were consistent across risk groups.
Primary care activity increased in the intervention phase overall delta = .011 (95 percent CI .007, .014), except for the two highest risk groups which showed a decrease in the number of days with recorded activity.
Introduction of a predictive risk model in primary care was associated with increased emergency episodes across the general practice population and at each risk level, in contrast to the intended purpose of the model. Future evaluation work could assess the impact of targeting of different services to patients across different levels of risk, rather than the current policy focus on those at highest risk.
Emergency admissions to hospital are a major financial burden on health services. In one area of the United Kingdom (UK), we evaluated a predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) designed to support primary care practitioners to identify and manage patients at high risk of admission. We assessed the costs of implementing PRISM and its impact on health services costs. At the same time as the study, but independent of it, an incentive payment (‘QOF’) was introduced to encourage primary care practitioners to identify high risk patients and manage their care.
We conducted a randomized stepped wedge trial in thirty-two practices, with cluster-defined control and intervention phases, and participant-level anonymized linked outcomes. We analysed routine linked data on patient outcomes for 18 months (February 2013 – September 2014). We assigned standard unit costs in pound sterling to the resources utilized by each patient. Cost differences between the two study phases were used in conjunction with differences in the primary outcome (emergency admissions) to undertake a cost-effectiveness analysis.
We included outcomes for 230,099 registered patients. We estimated a PRISM implementation cost of GBP0.12 per patient per year.
Costs of emergency department attendances, outpatient visits, emergency and elective admissions to hospital, and general practice activity were higher per patient per year in the intervention phase than control phase (adjusted δ = GBP76, 95 percent Confidence Interval, CI GBP46, GBP106), an effect that was consistent and generally increased with risk level.
Despite low reported use of PRISM, it was associated with increased healthcare expenditure. This effect was unexpected and in the opposite direction to that intended. We cannot disentangle the effects of introducing the PRISM tool from those of imposing the QOF targets; however, since across the UK predictive risk stratification tools for emergency admissions have been introduced alongside incentives to focus on patients at risk, we believe that our findings are generalizable.
A predictive risk stratification tool (PRISM) to estimate a patient's risk of an emergency hospital admission in the following year was trialled in general practice in an area of the United Kingdom. PRISM's introduction coincided with a new incentive payment (‘QOF’) in the regional contract for family doctors to identify and manage the care of people at high risk of emergency hospital admission.
Alongside the trial, we carried out a complementary qualitative study of processes of change associated with PRISM's implementation. We aimed to describe how PRISM was understood, communicated, adopted, and used by practitioners, managers, local commissioners and policy makers. We gathered data through focus groups, interviews and questionnaires at three time points (baseline, mid-trial and end-trial). We analyzed data thematically, informed by Normalisation Process Theory (1).
All groups showed high awareness of PRISM, but raised concerns about whether it could identify patients not yet known, and about whether there were sufficient community-based services to respond to care needs identified. All practices reported using PRISM to fulfil their QOF targets, but after the QOF reporting period ended, only two practices continued to use it. Family doctors said PRISM changed their awareness of patients and focused them on targeting the highest-risk patients, though they were uncertain about the potential for positive impact on this group.
Though external factors supported its uptake in the short term, with a focus on the highest risk patients, PRISM did not become a sustained part of normal practice for primary care practitioners.
Health nudge interventions to steer people into healthier lifestyles are increasingly applied by governments worldwide, and it is natural to look to such approaches to improve health by altering what people choose to eat. However, to produce policy recommendations that are likely to be effective, we need to be able to make valid predictions about the consequences of proposed interventions, and for this, we need a better understanding of the determinants of food choice. These determinants include dietary components (e.g. highly palatable foods and alcohol), but also diverse cultural and social pressures, cognitive-affective factors (perceived stress, health attitude, anxiety and depression), and familial, genetic and epigenetic influences on personality characteristics. In addition, our choices are influenced by an array of physiological mechanisms, including signals to the brain from the gastrointestinal tract and adipose tissue, which affect not only our hunger and satiety but also our motivation to eat particular nutrients, and the reward we experience from eating. Thus, to develop the evidence base necessary for effective policies, we need to build bridges across different levels of knowledge and understanding. This requires experimental models that can fill in the gaps in our understanding that are needed to inform policy, translational models that connect mechanistic understanding from laboratory studies to the real life human condition, and formal models that encapsulate scientific knowledge from diverse disciplines, and which embed understanding in a way that enables policy-relevant predictions to be made. Here we review recent developments in these areas.
Scholars have long debated whether ownership matters for firm performance. The standard view regarding Victorian Britain is that family-controlled companies had a detrimental effect on performance. In this article, we examine this view using a hand-collected corporate ownership dataset. Our main finding is that it was not necessarily the broad structure of corporate ownership that mattered for performance, but whether family blockholders had a governance role. Large active blockholders tended to increase operating performance, implying that they reduced managerial expropriation. Contrastingly, we find that directors who were independent of large owners were more likely to increase shareholder value.
This article addresses the issue of whether large shareholders in Victorian public companies were active in the control of companies or were simply wealthy rentiers. Using ownership records for 890 firm-years, we examine the control rights, socio-occupational background, and wealth of large shareholders. We find that many large shareholders had limited voting rights and neither they nor family members were directors. This implies that the majority of public companies in the second half of the nineteenth century cannot be characterized as family companies and that large shareholders are better viewed as wealthy gentlemen capitalists rather than entrepreneurs.
Identifying modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline may inform prevention of dementia.
To examine the combined impact of cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol consumption on cognitive decline from midlife.
Prospective cohort study (Whitehall II cohort) with three clinical examinations in 1997/99, 2002/04 and 2007/09. Participants were 6473 adults (72% men), mean age 55.76 years (s.d. = 6.02) in 1997/99. Four cognitive tests, assessed three times over 10 years, combined into a global z-score (mean 0, s.d. = 1).
Age-related decline in the global cognitive score was faster in individuals who were smoking heavy drinkers than in non-smoking moderate alcohol drinkers (reference group). The interaction term (P = 0.04) suggested that the combined effects of smoking and alcohol consumption were greater than their individual effects. Adjusting for age, gender, education and chronic diseases, 10-year decline in global cognition was −0.42 z-scores (95% Cl −0.45 to −0.39) for the reference group. In individuals who were heavy alcohol drinkers who also smoked the decline was −0.57 z-scores (95% Cl −0.67 to −0.48); 36% faster than the reference group.
Individuals who were smokers who drank alcohol heavily had a 36% faster cognitive decline, equivalent to an age-effect of 2 extra years over 10-year follow-up, compared with individuals who were non-smoking moderate drinkers.
We present an update of the ‘key points’ from the Antarctic Climate Change and the Environment (ACCE) report that was published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) in 2009. We summarise subsequent advances in knowledge concerning how the climates of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean have changed in the past, how they might change in the future, and examine the associated impacts on the marine and terrestrial biota. We also incorporate relevant material presented by SCAR to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings, and make use of emerging results that will form part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.
Investigations into the management of turn-taking have typically focussed on pitch and other prosodic phenomena, particularly pitch-accents. Here, non-pitch phonetic features and their role in turn-taking are described. Through sustained phonetic and interactional analysis of a naturally occurring, 12-minute long telephone call between two adult speakers of British English, sets of talk-projecting and turn-projecting features are identified. Talk-projecting features include the avoidance of durational lengthening, articulatory anticipation, continuation of voicing, the production of talk in maximally close proximity to a preceding point of possible turn-completion, and the reduction of consonants and vowels. Turn-projecting features include the converse of each of the talk-projecting features, and two other distinct features: release of plosives at the point of possible turn-completion, and the production of audible outbreaths. We show that features of articulatory and phonatory quality and duration are relevant factors in the design and treatment of talk as talk- or turn-projective.