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Bringing together people and analytics to make impactful changes

When healthcare pathways cross multiple organisations, how do we identify the most impactful places to direct resources? The Smarter Spending in Population Health (SSPH) programme, brings together stakeholders from across systems and inputs their insights directly into the analytics, helping to identify opportunities for maximum impact on population health.

Delivered for the Midlands Decision Support Network by the Health Economics Unit(HEU), the first year of the SSPH programme collaborated with five ICSs/Places: Coventry PlaceNorthamptonshireNottingham and NottinghamshireGloucestershire and Birmingham and Solihull.

Stakeholders were brought together in the form of Decision Conferences, where patients and frontline workers shared the table with chief executives and finance officers, giving their insights into treatments and interventions.

The HEU’s expert analysts took the results of these conferences and used the STAR method of allocative efficiency to create actionable insights in a format which decision makers could use to create immediate impacts.

Finding opportunities in the COPD pathway

The first year of the SSPH programme focused on our partners’ Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) pathways.

Across 10 decision conferences, the HEU engaged more than 100 stakeholders directly, including patients, ICS employees, clinicians from primary, secondary and community care, public health professionals, tobacco control leads and more.

On top of this more than 500 patients responded to a patient preference survey, the results of which were used to inform decision making in the ICSs.

By using the Socio-technical Allocation of Resource (STAR) method, an approach to priority setting using the principle of allocative efficiency, the HEU helped the programme partners discover new areas for potential focus and maximum impact from their budgets to make a difference to the lives of thousands of COPD patients across their areas.

“…I think it was a really helpful discussion and helped to set the scene on how we make plans for next year […]. I think this will be widely celebrated and taken on across the system…” Komal Gorania, Senior Commissioning Manager, Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board

Acting on Insights

Following the programme analysis the SSPH team have collaborated with the partner ICSs and Places to create actionable insights, helping them to focus on the areas for biggest impact on the COPD pathway.

There were some common themes across all five of the ICSs in terms of their priority areas where interventions will save money and generate population health. These included maximising capacity in the virtual ward, implementing a case finding strategy (risk-based screening) to find undiagnosed COPD cases, initiating group consultations and improving patient education. The HEU’s analysis showed that all improvements will generate population health whilst either being cost neutral or cost saving.

In Northamptonshire ICB project insights have already been used to inform a respiratory plan focusing on improving respiratory care for the ICB’s population. More ICSs and Places are expected to adopt programme insights into their COPD pathways

Our specialist services

This is a small selection of all the solutions we can provide.

Evidence generation

Understanding whether new care pathways and interventions are effective, efficient, and deliver value for money

Population health management

Using allocative efficiency techniques and population health analytics to improve value and deliver the best care possible

Advanced analytics

Using advanced techniques in machine learning, data science and casual inference to understand the biggest questions in health


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