Landmark deal central to Lincolnshire STP data strategy
November 2018 – Cambio Healthcare Systems has won a major contract with Lincolnshire STP for real-time dashboards to accurately forecast capacity and demand on NHS services and so avoid sudden surges and blockages, such as those caused by winter pressures.
Under the deal, Cambio will deliver a solution based on its PFM (patient flow manager) and dashboard technology from its partner Beautiful Information. Data entered via PFM input screens will be forwarded immediately to automatically populate the dashboard and give an instant picture of current demand, capacity, resources and impending problems.
The solution identifies, from live data, the pressure points in the system to proactively respond to any surges in demand, plus giving all health and care organisations a shared view of both the regional and local dashboards.
‘The ability to gather a host of both quantitative and qualitative data, such as numbers of patients in A&E, spare beds, staffing and ambulance issues, was pivotal in the decision,’ said Tina Hanlon, Cambio’s general manager and clinical solutions director. ‘Having a clear, accurate and detailed picture of demand and resources gives a high degree of confidence in the information and ensuing decisions. The opportunity to improve services and reduce costs is huge.’
‘It gives us a “single point of truth” to inform decisions,’ said Sarah Stringer, urgent care programme manager at Lincolnshire STP. ‘With a whole range of indicators in real time we can start to identify critical points, causes and possible surges and take action to rectify before it becomes a major issue. This might be to reassign staff to cover other departments or wards or escalate patient discharges. With better visibility of demand, we can start to plan for the unexpected.’
The project is a central plank of Lincolnshire STP’s strategic plan. Called Surge and Escalation, the goal is to coordinate care across Lincolnshire so all providers can respond quickly and appropriately to changes in demand and so alleviate pressure on health services. Underpinning this is an enterprise-wide capacity management system to inform decisions and place patients in the most appropriate care setting quickly and efficiently.
Data gathering is due to start at three NHS trusts before the end of November, ahead of the usual winter pressures on NHS services. The three are United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, and East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Collecting qualitative data from GPs is also a key objective of the project as demand on GP services is generally an accurate bellwether. Often a surge in demand at GP surgeries is quickly followed by an upsurge in numbers at A&E, leading to more admissions and pressures on bed capacity and hospital resources generally.
It also resolves the requirement to update the NHS England Operational Pressures Escalation Level (OPEL) framework with accurate, real time data.
Cambio’s track record was an important factor. Used across Lincolnshire Community, Cambio PFM is seen as a huge success and has helped reduce the average length of stay.
The contract and partnership with Beautiful Information is seen as landmark for Cambio as it provides a new product stream at forefront of NHS data management. ‘With all healthcare organisations facing unprecedented pressures on demand and capacity, there is enormous potential for this solution not only among our PFM customers, but across the whole NHS and further afield,’ Hanlon said.
Dr Marc Farr, Beautiful Information’s founder, says this an important milestone as one of the first truly STP-wide dashboard and monitoring services in the NHS. ‘Data can be described as the “connective tissue” of an STP; linking patients, clinicians and managers far more quickly and transparently than any local organisational or pathway changes,’ he said. ‘By delivering near real-time management information we are helping the NHS create genuinely transformative change.’
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