UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


UCL CORU Team wins Lyn Thomas Impact Medal

9 January 2020

The Lyn Thomas Impact Medal is awarded annually for the academic operational research which best demonstrates both novelty and real-world impact, backed up by evidence.

Photo of the team being given their award

CORU has had an international reputation for impactful research in health for over 35 years.  The Unit’s ground-breaking work in paediatric cardiac surgery in the 1990s led to the creation of Variable Life Adjusted Display or VLAD charts, now widely used for monitoring risk-adjusted health outcomes. 

The Team were awarded the Lyn Thomas Medal for a programme of research related to congenital heart disease.  These three projects are typical of CORU’s work.  They all involved rigorous, innovative Operational Research; close collaboration with clinicians; and the effective use of data visualisation and user-friendly software tools to support NHS decision-makers.

  • In the first project, the team developed an Excel-based tool called PRAiS for monitoring 30-day outcomes after heart surgery. This is now used by all UK hospitals and is mandated by the Care Quality Commission.
  • In the second, they used a combination of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ OR methods to monitor longer-term outcomes, which informed NHS England’s priorities in providing services for these children.
  • In the third, most recent project, they developed a tool to select and monitor complications after surgery that takes into account the views of both clinicians and parents.

This research has had significant impact on the lives of children with congenital heart disease, as well on their families and the growing population of adults with the condition, now that more children are surviving into adulthood.  

More information about the award can be found on the OR Society Website.