The impact of our work
Our world-class research and high-quality teaching advances primary care locally and globally, influences health policy and develops professional skills.
From research showing the benefits of self-managing blood pressure to reduce stroke risk, to teaching that embeds the practice of evidence-based medicine in low-income countries, our almost 600-strong team of staff and students are rethinking health care delivery across the global community.
Here are some examples of how we work to make a difference on policy, clinical practice and public health.
REF 2021 impact case study: Making the case for sugar taxes: UK, Ireland and Mexico
Researchers at the University of Oxford, including Susan Jebb from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, have made the case for sugar taxes to reduce obesity and boost health – influencing policy in Mexico, Ireland, and the UK.
REF 2021 impact case study: Enhancing clinical trial transparency and reporting
Non-reporting and mis-reporting of clinical trial data distorts the evidence base for optimal clinical practice. Researchers at the at the University of Oxford, working in the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM), developed novel methods to interrogate clinical trial data and audit ongoing trials.
Using these new methods, the Oxford CEBM published research studies that resulted in worldwide changes in the recommendations for the use of neuraminidase inhibitors for influenza. Based on these results and the challenges overcome in achieving them, the researchers went on to develop TrialsTracker, a live data science tool for automated assessment of clinical trials reporting.
Policies to increase clinical trial data transparency have been implemented worldwide, and compliance of clinical trials with both EU and FDAAA reporting laws have increased as a result of TrialsTracker.
The research was led by Professor Carl Heneghan, Kamal R. Mahtani, Professor Ben Goldacre and Seb Bacon, 2013-2020
REF 2021 impact case study: Improving weight management through increased access to evidence-based weight loss support
The programme of clinical trials, systematic reviews, economic modelling and embedded qualitative research carried out by researchers at the University of Oxford, led by Professor Paul Aveyard, has provided a robust evidence base for the development, provision and uptake of interventions to treat obesity, which affects more than a quarter of adults in the UK.
The research has directly contributed to NICE and Public Health England guidance and led to change in Government policy on weight management and brief interventions leading to a change in the nature, and increased provision of evidence-based weight loss support through the NHS.
The research was cited in and directly informed the NHS Long-Term Plan to support a pilot rollout of total diet replacement programmes in the NHS to 5,000 people. The researchers also worked with the BBC to deliver programmes and associated resources that have engaged the public, providing a broader view of obesity and how they can manage their weight and weight loss.
The research was led by Professor Paul Aveyard, Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, Professor Susan Jebb and Dr Nerys Astbury, 2013-2020
REF 2021 impact case study: Saving healthcare resources through avoiding ineffective use of blood glucose self-monitoring for type 2 diabetes
Studies led by Professor Andrew Farmer and colleagues at the University of Oxford have shown that routine use of blood glucose self-monitoring adds little benefit to the care of patients with non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes.
This work led to changes in the recommendations made in the 2008 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, from “self- monitoring of plasma glucose should be available…” to a clear recommendation in the 2015 NICE guidelines of “Do not offer routine self-monitoring of blood glucose for adults with type 2 diabetes…”
These changes have been implemented by healthcare professionals and are estimated to have saved the NHS up to £100,000,000 since the guidelines were published.
The research has also influenced recommendations for clinical practice worldwide regarding the use of blood glucose self-monitoring for non-insulin treated patients with type 2 diabetes.
The research was led by Professor Andrew Farmer, Andrew Neil, Judit Simon and Pat Yudkin, 2013-2020
Featured impact: Informing better management of type 2 diabetes
Our study on the routine use of blood glucose self-monitoring in type 2 diabetes has impacted policy, clinical practice and education programmes in the UK and internationally.
Putting data and statistics into action to save the NHS money
To identify the biggest prescribing quality improvement and cost-saving opportunities for General Practices and Clinical Commissioning Groups every month, and help them to improve, the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences’ EBM DataLab brings together health researchers and software developers to transform large prescribing datasets into useful data explorer tools for coalface NHS staff.
Medical evidence through a philosophical lens
Dr Jeremy Howick’s application of philosophical approaches to health science has helped shape how we leverage placebos in clinical trials and treatment, and determine the quality of evidence required in ‘evidence-based medicine’.
Evidence to inform the national debate
The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine develops, promotes and disseminates better evidence for healthcare. Researchers from the Centre have reviewed the evidence for oral hormone pregnancy tests, transvaginal mesh and tamiflu and have used their findings to shape national debate on whether these approved treatments and diagnostics are safe and effective.