Master of Science in biometry at Reading University, UK.
Bachelor of Science with Honours in applied statistics at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.
Since 2018, Nicola Jones, MSc, has been employed by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, as the Biostatistician for the Opioid Agonist and Safety (OATS) Study. The OATS study aims to understand risk for mortality and other adverse outcomes using the individuals registered in the NSW Controlled Drugs Data Collection (CoDDaC) and linking this cohort to routinely collected health administrative data such as NSW Ambulatory Mental Health Data (MH-AMB), Emergency Department Data Collection (EDDC) & NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection (APDC) and additionally NSW Re-Offending Database. Prior to 2018 Nicola held several corporate statistical roles leading a team of Analysts, Statistical Consultant, SAS Instructor and Medical Statistician.
Using the linked data from the project: Health service use of people with opioid use disorders, we were able to show that, among people with opioid use disorder, urgent ED presentations and associated costs are reduced during periods of OAT relative to periods out of OAT. This difference was seen regardless of geographical remoteness and suggests that life-threatening events (e.g. overdose) are reduced in frequency while in OAT. A more complex picture was identified in relation to low acuity ED presentations. For OAT clients in major cities, low acuity presentations were significantly less frequent during periods of treatment compared to time out of treatment. This was not the case in regional/remote areas. This may reflect difficulties in accessing OAT, and possibly primary care more broadly, in regional/remote NSW. People living outside major cities may have difficulties accessing a community-based general practitioner who prescribes OAT. The current OATS project has identified that OAT prescribing is increasingly concentrated in a small group of mature prescribers, and new prescribers have not been retained. There is a need to identify and respond to the reasons that contribute to newer prescribers to cease prescribing and put in place strategies to increase retention and broaden the base of doctors involved in such prescribing.