We Are Randox | Software Developer Scott McPeake on life in the Randox IT department

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We Are Randox | Software Developer Scott McPeake on life in the Randox IT department

Have you heard about our IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November? We’re offering those interested in Software Development, Information Security, Web Design and IT Support the opportunity to have a look around our state-of-the-art IT facilities at the Randox Science Park.

But as a company known throughout the world for its high-quality health diagnostic products, you may have been surprised to hear that we have such wide-ranging roles available in Information Technology.

“Randox? Isn’t that just for scientists?” we hear you say.

We turned to Randox IT Software Developer Scott McPeake for the answer. This is what he said.

“I imagine if you were to ask my friends from my Computer Science course at university, if they previously knew that Randox offers jobs in IT, they would say no.

But really, it’s not surprising when you think about it. Technology underpins everything we do in life. Everything is moving digital, and everything digital involves software in some shape or form.

Even jobs which you assume are predominantly tech-free – let’s say for example, a bus driver – use technology every day. A bus driver relies on technology to administer tickets and to plan their travel routes. It truly is everywhere and it’s only going to expand more.

Without an innovative IT department, Randox wouldn’t be the successful and reputable company it is today. If there was no IT team, there would be no lab equipment, no websites, no apps. Even organisations who don’t specialise in IT still have it as a core function of the company.

In the Software Development team, in particular, we design and develop the software used in laboratories to compare results from instruments and samples against other laboratories, to see how these results compare.

It’s important work, as all our scientists rely on us to be able to do their work in providing blood test results to patients across the world. Our software needs to be operating perfectly to ensure people are getting the correct results and therefore the correct diagnosis. And that’s what makes Randox so reputable.

Access to technologies

Being part of a company that is so well established and successful also means that we get exposed to the latest innovations. With IT influencing so much of what we do here, we’re at the forefront of all projects and developments, and are given access to the most up-to-date technologies to make sure we’re providing the best possible products and user experience for our customers, and can stay head of our competitors.

We’re able therefore to bring to management our ideas about what new software we would like to try, to suggest how it would improve our work. So new software is coming in all the time. I’m currently working with MVC architecture which is a key software framework used widely across the world. It’s definitely something good to get experience in, as is typescript, which although not used as much, is really interesting, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the opportunity to try something new.

We also work with C# and javascript which are popular, up-to-date products. So whilst the industry of health diagnostics is rather niche, we have the opportunity to use design patterns that are used by most companies, in most industries, to realise our aim of advancing global healthcare.

And of course, working in Randox, we also get the opportunity to learn about the science of diagnostics, and in particular the machines on which we’re implementing our software designs, which carry out blood testing in hospitals and laboratories. It’s good to challenge yourself to learn something new.

Teamwork and collaboration

The chance to expand your knowledge and improve your skills repertoire is probably one of my favourite things about working here at Randox. Everyone works really collaboratively and we help each other out when we need it. So if you don’t know something, no one is going to chastise you. Asking for help and advice is actively encouraged because we each have our own strengths and weaknesses and we can help each other to be a better team. Everyone in the Randox IT team is really willing to help and makes time for you if you need it.

I remember on my first day here I was really nervous and I arrived at the door unable to get in because it was locked. Someone in the team immediately came to the door, asked me if I was new and welcomed me in to the building. That instantly set the tone. Everyone was really welcoming, friendly and professional.

And this ability to work together is so crucial. Most days we will be working on the same site but perhaps on different pages so we have to talk to each other to make sure my page doesn’t break theirs and vice versa. Quite often we’ll design the layout of the software collaboratively, and most days we’ll have a morning meeting to discuss our progress.

If we’re creating something new, we’ll draw up the design based on user requirements and create the software to those designs. Or if an existing site doesn’t work properly, we’ll write up the problem, how to solve it, and then push it up to the production server to fix the bugs.

Fundamental skills

So communication is fundamental, as is problem solving.  Being able to keep calm under pressure is also an inherent skill for programming. Deadlines happen; they’re a real thing. You can’t take all day to do something. But it keeps things challenging for us, which is vital, as you don’t want to put your brain to sleep. The work is challenging but solvable, and as I said, you have the team there to help you out and support you.

We all get on really well and the more experienced software developers in the team have been such great mentors to me. If you’re interested in working in IT I would certainly recommend coming along to our IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November so that you can meet all of us and have the opportunity to take a tour of our brand-new facilities in the Randox Science Park.

Working in Antrim

The site is really spacious, modern, and easy to get to. For me, coming from Coleraine, I’m just able to get the train to the Antrim station, which is right beside the bus station aswell.

And Antrim has everything you could need. Shops, supermarkets, nice affordable places to live, and plenty of cafés and restaurants. Sometimes we’ll head out as a team in to Antrim for lunch or dinner together, or if we fancy Belfast, it’s just a short journey on the train.

So if you’re interested in a dynamic career in software development, take the trip to Antrim to find out a bit more about what Randox has to offer during our Open Evening on 20th November.

You might not have thought of Randox as a software house but we’re here and we’re working hard to improve healthcare globally!”

To attend the Randox IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November, register for tickets on EventBrite by clicking here.

For further information please contact the Randox PR team by emailing randoxpr@randox.com or phoning 028 9442 2413

 

 

 

 

 

 


World Diabetes Day: The Biggest Burden on the NHS

14 November 2018

World Diabetes Day

Diabetes

Approximately 400,000 people in the UK are living with type 1 diabetes, with over 29,000 being children and young people [1]. Type 1 diabetes affects 96% of all children with diabetes in England and Wales, with incidences increasing by approximately 4% each year.

Globally, the UK has the fifth highest rate of type 1 diabetes diagnosis in children (aged up to 14) with 85% of these children having no family history of the condition. Whilst the condition isn’t fatal and can be managed, it cannot be cured. Type 1 diabetes increases the risk of developing other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, foot and circulation problems, sight problems including blindness, nerve damage and kidney problems. However, many of these related conditions are preventable and it is recommended to stabilise blood sugar levels, attend diabetes appointments regularly and complete a diabetes course to educate patients and family members and prevent the risk of further help complications[2].

Diabetes in children

Children under five are at the highest risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis due to a late diagnosis and it is also thought to be due to of lack of public knowledge of the signs and symptoms attributed to type 1 diabetes. Such symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination as the kidneys are trying to expel excess sugar in the blood, resulting in dehydration which leads to extreme thirst.
  • Increased hunger or unexpected weight loss because the body is unable to attain enough energy from food
  • Slow healing cuts as high blood sugar levels can affect blood flow which can cause nerve damage.
  • Fatigue as the body is unable to convert sugar into energy
  • Irritable behaviour combined with other symptoms can be a means of concern

Diabetes and the NHS

Diabetes costs the NHS approximately £9.8 billion per year, an estimate of 10% of total expenditures. Hospital admissions of children and young people with diabetes presents a considerable burden on themselves, their families and the NHS. It is estimated that approximately 80% of these cases are potentially avoidable.

A report produced by the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit found that although the numbers of admissions didn’t significantly differ year to year, it highlighted differences in terms of socio-economic risk factors:

  • Living in a deprived area increases the risk of hospital admissions which can be attributed to lack of education in the community about diabetic symptoms and the management of diabetes.
  • Children below 5 years of age have a 35% increased risk of hospitalisation compared to those aged 5-9
  • Females have a 33% increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes compared to males.
  • Children with poor diabetes control have a twelve-fold increased risk of hospital admission
  • Insulin pump users have a 27% increased risk of hospital admission compared to those who use insulin injections.
Figure A. Number of preventable paediatric diabetes admissions  [3] 

Prevention

There are campaigns in place to aid in the early diagnosis of type 1 diabetes which mainly focus on raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes. On this World Diabetes Day, it is important to know that it is not just simply the responsibility of the diabetic patient to prevent admission but the main responsibility lies with the diabetic teams that inform the families with children who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Paediatric diabetes teams should ensure that the families and the children receive structured education for self-management when diagnosed and throughout the illness. In doing so, the diabetic teams should implement blood ketone testing from diagnosis and utilise the nationally agreed hypoglycaemia management guidelines. It is also important that diabetic teams are fully aware of the patient characteristics associated with a greater risk of admission and that they use this knowledge to develop anti-admission strategies specifically tailored to the needs of each individual group.

Primary care practitioners should seek access to a specialist diabetic team who they can refer to when deciding if a patient requires admission to hospital. Furthermore, they should access blood glucose and ketone testing to identify patients at risk of diabetic ketoacidosis that require hospital admission.

How Randox can Help

Randox offer a range of assays to diagnosis and monitor diabetes and to monitor associated complications.  Some of these tests are unique to Randox, including:

Fructosamine

The Randox fructosamine assay employs the enzymatic method which offers improved specificity and reliability compared to conventional NBT-based methods. The Randox enzymatic method does not suffer from non-specific interferences unlike other commercially available fructosamine assays.

Learn more about the Randox Fructosamine test

D-3-Hydroxybutyrate (Ranbut)

The Randox D-3-Hydroxybutyrate (Ranbut) assay detects the most abundant and sensitive ketone in the body, D-3-Hydroxybutyrate. The Randox Ranbut assay is used for the diagnosis of ketosis, more specifically diabetic ketoacidosis. Other commercially available tests, such as the nitroprusside method, are less sensitive as they only detect acetone and acetoacetate, not D-3-Hydroxybutyrate.

Learn more about the Randox D-3-Hydroxybutyrate test

Adiponectin

The Randox adiponectin assay is a biomarker in diabetes testing as adiponectin is a protein hormone responsible for regulating the metabolism of lipids and glucose and influences the body’s response to insulin. Adiponectin levels inversely correlates with abdominal visceral fat levels.

Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our Diabetes panel page to learn more.




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  • References

    [1] National Paediatric Diabetes Audit and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, National Paediatric Diabetes Audit Report 2012-15: Part 2, 2017

    [2] NHS, “Avoiding Complications” – Type 1 Diabetes, Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-1-diabetes/avoiding-complications/ [Accessed on 24th October 2018].

    [3] “Potentially Preventable Pediatric Hospital Inpatient Stays for Asthma and Diabetes, 2003-2012”, www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov, 2015. [Online] Available: https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb192-Pediatric-Preventable-Hospitalizations-Asthma-Diabetes.jsp [Accessed 08-Nov-18]


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