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Professor Paul Aylin's Inaugural Lecture

It was a great privilege for me to introduce Professor Paul Aylin on the evening of 5 November 2015 on the occasion of his inaugural lecture. Professor Aylin is based in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health (part of the School of Public Health) at Imperial College London and is co-director of the Dr Foster Unit. He trained in Public Health Medicine and spent three years at the Office for National Statistics before coming to Imperial College in 1997. He became a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine in 2001. He is a non-executive director at West London Mental Health NHS Trust.

Professor Aylin’s current research focuses on exploring variations in indicators of quality and safety using routinely collected administrative data including: out of hours hospital mortality; continuous monitoring of performance and safety; case-mix adjustment; and cancer care and indicators for late diagnosis. He has been an expert witness to both the Bristol and the Shipman Inquiry, and was instrumental in prompting the original Health Care Commission investigation into emergency services at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Aylin has worked for the last decade to show how overlooked administrative data can identify anomalies worthy of investigation. After creating algorithms to pick out outliers such the Bristol heart scandal and the patients of convicted murderer Harold Shipman, His team looked at above-expected death rates for a range of conditions and procedures within hospitals. Together they repeatedly identified Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust as worthy of investigation, leading to the initial review which prompted a number of high profile inquiries.

In the UK health sector, recent controversy around the collection of patient data has only been exceeded by reports of institutional failings. Professor Aylin’s lecture charted the history of patient data statistics in healthcare to show the benefits of these rich sources of data. He brought story right up to date with new research on patient care during hospitals out-of-hours, and safety in primary care.

View the video of Professor Aylin's lecture.

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