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Researchers highlight benefits of technology in reducing epilepsy risks

Researchers have highlighted the benefits of technology in reducing epilepsy risks in an article in the British Journal of General Practice. The article, entitled ‘Can Technology help reduce risk of harm in patients with epilepsy’ discusses ways in which technology can help improve discussion of SUDEP between Doctors and patients.

Research shows that about 42% of all epilepsy related deaths may be or are potentially are avoidable. The researchers, who developed the SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist, and EpSMon the Epilepsy Self-monitoring app for people with epilepsy, said that although the NICE Guidelines recommend discussion of SUDEP with newly diagnosed people with epilepsy, this was rarely done. The article says

In clinical practice, especially in primary care, the lack of any tools to support risk management is of concern. Risk management has been highlighted as vitally important to reducing avoidable epilepsy-related deaths, both in research and reporting but also via Prevention of Future Death reports and Fatal Accident Inquiries held by those investigating sudden and unexpected deaths.”

In the article, the researchers highlighted that through the localised implementation of tools such as the Checklist, there are signs of improving safety indicated through data regarding accident and emergency admissions, clinicians, patients and carer feedback, and SUDEP reduction. The use of these tools also help give some assurance to bereaved families that every effort was made to reduce risk and prevent a fatality.

The SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist is now in use across the UK, however the researchers point out that “it is still not in the common professional/clinical psyche of the practising epilepsy clinician.”

At present, there is no proven intervention or national surveillance of epilepsy mortality. However simple, practical tools such as the SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist can be used to demonstrate effective clinical and corporate governance while enhancing patient safety. This, alongside support for people with epilepsy to self-monitor their condition using EpSMon, the mobile app developed from the Checklist, means that both clinicians and their patients can take the first step towards improving outcomes for people with epilepsy.

For the full article, please click on the button below.

PDF icon Can technology help reduce risk? BJGP Article