Clinical Operational Research Unit (CORU)


CORU's visual outcome monitoring tool (VLAD) goes global!

1 June 2012

Over fifteen years ago, researchers at CORU collaborated with heart surgeons to produce charts that could be used to monitor risk-adjusted outcomes following surgery in a routine manner. These charts are called Variable Life-Adjusted Displays (VLAD) Charts and are now routinely used in cardiac units across the UK and internationally. VLAD Charts have also started to be used to monitor other outcomes, almost always in hospital settings, and almost always in high income contexts. They are most useful for allowing users to quickly spot trends in outcomes that might warrant further investigation or aid understanding of a dataset.

Christina Pagel and Martin Utley of CORU collaborated with researchers at the UCL Centre for International Health and Development and at Ekjut NGO in India on a trial looking at birth outcomes in rural poor communities. During this, we adapted the VLAD methodology to look at population outcomes in these contexts, using the baseline mortality rate as a crude risk model.

The adaptation of VLADs to global contexts has now been published in the Bulletin of the WHO and CORU has developed generic software within Excel to enable people to generate VLAD charts for their own context. We are excited that VLAD has now gone global! 

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