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Research, Development and Innovation

Research, Development and Innovation

Research, development and innovation are an integral part of the Department’s core business. 

Our world-class research is closely tied to our clinical activities and clinical activities of our colleagues in this Trust and neighbouring Trusts. Our Staff publish papers in peer-reviewed journals and present in National and International conferences. 

Our current areas of research, development and innovation include:

  • Medical Instrumentation
  • Signal and image processing
  • Mathematical and statistical modelling
  • Clinical computing
  • Clinical measurements
  • Biomechanics​

Research and development in MRI Imaging

Clinical Scientists at the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering provide cutting edge research and development in MRI Myocardial Imaging with the objective of providing innovation in front line cardiology services. 

Currently we are developing more refined clinical assessment of myocardial infarction following heart attack, enabling the degree of infarction throughout the myocardium to be measured in addition to its spatial distribution using conventional MRI tracers. 

Additionally, we are investigating and developing new methods of MRI measurement of myocardial perfusion which will not require injection of any tracer, reducing both cost of assessment and making this clinical assessment available to significant numbers of patients intolerant of the dye tracers.

Research and Development in Heart Rate Variability

Clinical Scientists at the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering have developed optimal methods of measuring Heart Rate Variability (HRV) from real world ECG data. 

Clinical measurement of HRV enables the non-invasive assessment/monitoring of the autonomic nervous system which controls and organises the functioning of the major organs. HRV analysis therefore has clinical application in many areas of medicine including cardiology, diabetes, obesity and neonatal medicine. 

The department’s expertise in this area has resulted in:

  • The development of accurate prognostic assessment of heart failure patients (RLBUHT and Leeds University Cardiology Dept)
  • Assessment of angina and its treatment (RLBUHT Liverpool Angina Management Programme)
  • Assessment and monitoring of premature babies (RLBUHT and Liverpool Women Hospital)
  • The investigation of the relationship between psychological stress and cardiac autonomic control (RLBUHT and UCL Cardiology Dept).

This area of work into HRV and its application has lead to publication of many technical and clinical papers.

For more information call us on 0151 706 4202.

Supporting clinical service in Ocular Oncology

Clinical Scientists at the Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering provide support to the clinical service in ocular oncology backed up by cutting edge translational research. 

One of the main strengths of this group is the close collaboration with ocular oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and life scientists. 

The group has built a significant portfolio of peer-reviewed papers and contribution to key national and international conferences with the aim that the research we conduct addresses the key questions that will bring about improved survival and quality of life for ocular oncology patients.

We have also been instrumental in guiding clinical practice with the development of numerous web-based tools to aid the clinician in making decisions. 

Anaesthesia Research

Research and Innovation - Anaesthesia

A number of research and innovation projects have been carried out in partnership with the Department of Anaesthesia at RLBUHT.

These include monitoring depth of anaesthesia, charting patients’ vital signs during an operation and the development of a decision support system to help prepare patients for surgery, see links below.

For more information email Stephen Lake​ or call +44 (0)151 706 4202

chartingThe Anaesthetic Charting System captures patients’ vital signs and the anaesthetic machine settings electronically during surgery and enables the anaesthetist to add:

  • Medications
  • Apparatus used
  • Block/special technique
  • RCoA structured incidents
  • Scoring
  • Investigations
  • Fluids, infusion details and fluid balance
  • Operation details.

The system enables a complete record of the anaesthetic care provided during surgery to be captured and printed out for the patient’s notes.

For more details:

Or call +44 (0)151 706 4202

Optimised Surgery Care and Anaesthesia Record (OSCAR)

OSCAR is an intranet based computer system used by nurses to predict preoperative investigations and gain advice on how to prepare a patient for surgery based on the patients’ medical history and localised guidelines. OSCAR also passes information onto others involved in the patient’s care.

The benefits include:

  • Reduces the number of cancelled operations due to clinical reasons
  • Improves the effectiveness of pre-operative practices
  • Establishes a framework into which new hospital policy can be introduced
  • Communicates information to other groups involved in surgery
  • Produces a letter providing patient specific advice, e.g. which medications to stop and when
  • Encourages a high standard of screening that raises the quality of the whole surgical pathway which impacts on mortality and morbidity
  • During 2008/09 it was estimated that by using OSCAR the Trust made cost savings of approximately £375k.

Why does OSCAR work?

OSCAROur own research1 has demonstrated that by using OSCAR we can improve the nurses’ ability to identify the necessary preoperative investigations from 91.5% to 98.2%, which explains part of the reason why OSCAR works. Introducing a clinical decision support system not only encourages a consistently high standard of assessment but it also raises staff awareness of quality.

Contact the developer for further details on​


1 Murthy, B., Lake, S. and Fisher, A. (2008) Evaluation of a decision support system to predict preoperative investigations, British Journal of Anaesthesia, January, Volume 100, Number 3, pp 315-321

CD1906/01 Page 1 (September 2020)