Analytical techniques

Supporting your decision-making

We exist to help organisations across all sectors of the health and care industry make the best possible decisions, allowing them to develop and deliver the best quality, most efficient services to communities across the country.

Understanding whether new care pathways and interventions are effective, efficient, and deliver value for money is vital. The Covid-19 pandemic has put unprecedented stress on existing care pathways – in some cases highlighting weaknesses or opportunities for improvement which had previously gone unnoticed.

We use real-world data to evaluate the impact of innovations with a strong focus on health outcomes and the real difference they make to patients.

As the work of health and social care systems becomes ever more complex, high-quality health economics data and analyses in all of its forms is needed more than ever.

Advanced techniques and technologies underpin our work, and we use these tools to provide clients with strategic advice which learns from and generates high quality evidence.

These Advanced techniques and technologies include:

  • Machine learning – predictive

    Machine learning promises to revolutionise clinical decision-making and diagnosis. The potential applications of machine learning are substantial, however identifying the best way to use these data analytics can prove challenging.

    We can use machine learning to ensure you have the most rigorous and robust analysis, risk stratification models and forecasts so that you can prioritise and target healthcare at the individuals most at risk of developing ill health.

    We can:

    • Create risk scores that help you decide which patients can benefit from enhanced services
    • Develop risk algorithms to ensure you can identify patients who are at highest risk of poor health outcomes
    • Predict patient resource utilisation including:
      • Appointment DNAs
      • Re-admission rates (30 days)
    • Use machine learning software to improve the data analytics process
  • Machine learning – causal analytics

    Causal models can help healthcare providers and services to understand the relationship between one event (a cause) and another (its effect).

    To find a solution to a healthcare challenge, we first need to identify the cause of the problem, not just what is associated or correlated with it. Causal analysis can find the root cause of the problem you want to address, help identify solutions and determine the steps you can take to benefit patient health.

    Approaches that can be used include:

    • Creating a causal model to establish cause and effect relationships between variables
    • Using targeted maximum likelihood estimation (TMLE) and other estimators. These can be implemented using machine learning algorithms, which are advantageous in complex observational data
    • Building a causal Bayesian network to compare the performance of different interventions

    Once we have identified the main area to focus on, we can help to create an intervention that will help you address that particular issue.

  • Dashboards

    We use visual tools including data dashboards and interactive visualisations to help you present and monitor your healthcare data in a dynamic and interactive way. Dashboards allow healthcare professionals to quickly understand the narrative and enhance their understanding and buy-in to a selected approach.

    Our impactful dashboards are easy to use and accessible, and can be tailored for different audiences including your managers, external partners and clinicians. 

    They offer a clear and cohesive presentation of your data, identifying the important insights and enhancing understanding.

    We can use dashboards to facilitate ongoing monitoring of a service or health outcome in a coherent, useful way.

    We use a range of hosted technical data visualisation tools including Tableau, PowerBI and LucidChart.

  • Evidence reviews

    We identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research through literature reviews that help inform the input parameters for our economic models, and provide information on care pathways and research methods. By quickly and fully understanding the evidence base, we can support you in making the right decisions.

    We develop research protocols for each project, perform the reviews and produce timely, high impact reports that offer you clear, evidenced direction.

  • Medical writing and academic publications

    We are supported by a medical writing team who generate our reports and other communications including helping publish our work in high impact journals. 

    This is crucial in our aim of sharing the learning from our work; being able to report research finding and data to key audiences in clear and effective language is vitally important. 

    We also develop academic posters and papers.

  • Teaching

    We offer teaching on evaluation methods, evidence generation for innovation, R courses, and quasi-experimental design. We also cover a range of health economic topics from population health management to health economics for non-economists. 

    Our aim is to share our learning and further develop the skills of health analysts across the NHS and industry partners, improving capability and capacity in this important area.

  • Data assets – enhancing insights with our unrivalled access

    The importance and impact of real-world data assets have never been greater. We work with our clients to identify and provide expert advice on the most appropriate data assets and analytical methods to achieve their project requirements.

    In addition to using publicly available datasets from NHS Digital, Public Health England, and the Office for National Statistics, through our hosts the NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU), we have access to an unrivalled range of health data including integrated datasets that span primary, secondary, community and social care settings. Data linkage is often a key requirement to extract the maximum insights from disparate datasets, including those generated locally, and for this we work with the Data Services for Commissioners Regional Office (DSCRO), which uses data from GP practices and NHS hospital trusts in regional processing centres.

    Throughout all our work we adhere rigorously to information governance standards and best practice. All staff follow strict rules on accessing, analysing, and processing data and our work is risk assured by the MLCSU.

Our specialist services

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

Evaluation service

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

Economic evaluations

Inform your decision-making by quantifying the expected health benefits and costs related to alternative options.

Demand and capacity modelling

Understand pathways and how different elements come together, assess and explain current service levels and variations in demand.

Population health analytics

Identify patterns of health outcomes in different groups and understand the challenges and risks they face.