Pharmacist Angela Burgin is currently undertaking a Clinical Research Internship at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. This internship, fully funded by Leeds Hospitals Charity, will provide Angela with the tools and time to research how we can use technology in the best ways to manage our health, medicines and wellbeing. 

For five years, Angela has been working as part of the eMeds (electronic prescribing system) team based at St James’s Hospital. During her time, she has seen how prescribing medicines electronically has improved medicine safety but has also come with an unanticipated flip side - making healthcare less personal. 

“I’m a pharmacist, and as we started to use technology more and more, my team and I felt like we were seeing patients less and less. I wanted to know what patients thought, so I ran some focus groups and learnt that the feeling was mutual – without regular face to face contact, our patients didn’t feel as included in conversations about their medicines, and didn’t have the opportunity to ask the questions that mattered to them. 

“This was a bit of an epiphany for me, and I wanted to better understand how we can involve our patients more – in decision making, designing new services, and the tools we use to communicate with. I’m hoping this work not only helps improve the technology we use, but also supports healthcare workers to have more and better conversations with patients and each other.” 

“We know that up to 50% of medicines aren’t taken as intended. There are several factors that contribute to this, but not involving patients enough with decisions is definitely one. Developing new technology gives us an opportunity to reflect – moving forward, I’m keen that patient involvement is at the heart of any approach we take, from technology design, implementation, right through to its use on the pharmacy ‘shop floor’. Hopefully we can help every person get the most out of their medicines.” 

Thanks to your donations, the £10,000 internship has been arranged and funded by Leeds Hospitals Charity - which Angela is completing whilst supporting the Hospital’s COVID-19 response. It will help her build the skills needed to complete her research and share her findings with the world. 

“The internship gives me one day a week for the next six months to gather research and develop my skills and knowledge. It’s also given me the time to plan some patient engagement groups that I’ll be running soon to find out how COVID-19 has made a difference to technology use and patient experience.  

“Access to these fully funded internships is an absolute gift and is vital for people like me to develop as clinical researchers, so thank you. I’m already learning tons and it’s definitely a great step towards becoming an excellent researcher and hopefully completing a PhD in the future.”