Smarter Spending in Population Health

Allocative efficiency headline

How can integrated care systems best allocate resources to make the biggest impact on population health? The Smarter Spending in Population Health (SSPH) programme supports Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and other organisations involved in the delivery of care to find the most impactful areas to focus resources and make those changes happen.

SSPH brings together clinicians, patients and system leaders and helps them use analytical techniques to identify where the most effective changes could be made.

The programme is led by the Midlands Decision Support Network (MDSN), in partnership with the Strategy Unit (SU) and the Health Economics Unit (HEU) and, on this page, you can learn more about the training we’re delivering, find useful resources and contact us to get involved.

Working to improve COPD patient pathways

The first patient pathway we have been assessing is that of people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Working alongside five ICSs, the team is improving patient outcomes for the disease by gathering evidence on the following:

  • how ICSs currently deliver COPD care
  • how interventions targeting wider determinants of health affect COPD patient care; and
  • what COPD patients want from health and care services

As part of this work, ICSs worked in teams to conduct a Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs) survey, which was distributed to COPD patients across the country to ask about their preferences for care delivery. This was one of the largest DCE surveys ever conducted with COPD patients, receiving nearly 500 patient responses.


The STAR method

Through the SSPH programme we teach the Socio-technical Allocation of Resource (STAR) method of allocative efficiency. This method helps decision-makers to effectively assess their resources to see how they can create more value – crucially without spending more money.

You can learn more about the STAR method in this short video by Gwyn Bevan, STAR creator and London School of Economics (LSE) professor.

Health economist Jack Ettinger and consultant Luca Ricci-Pacifici, from the Health Economics Unit, explain the benefits of this population health management technique below.

Now you know the theory, how can you implement these insights into complex integrated care systems and their budgets? Nigel Edwards, CEO of the Nuffield Trust, shares his expert experience on turning theory into reality.

Keen to hear more about the Smarter Spending in Population Health programme?

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


Sharing our vast knowledge to develop NHS capability through training, research design advice and quality assurance