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Ipswich Hospital Trust tackles escalating demand through analytics

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, (IHT) which provides healthcare services to 356,000 people across Ipswich and East Suffolk, has revealed that it is using location analytics solutions from leading B2B mapping and analytics company, Esri UK.  

IHT is making use of the solutions as part of a feasibility programme to assess how location analysis and actuarial analysis working together can provide insight into demand management to shape future hospital services for the better.

IHT recognises the huge potential of the approach to achieve faster time to insight.  Visualising data in a map format helps IHT understand where the hotspots are for certain diseases, admission methods and average time to treatment. Understanding where demand comes from into emergency admissions, and the type and level of that demand, has allowed IHT to pinpoint areas of intervention to mitigate it.

The hospital believes this will enable it to improve its resourcing processes.  It will be able to bring in more clinical support staff to meet increased demand on certain days of the week, for example, and therefore alleviate resource pressure. This should in turn help minimise costs while maintaining performance and clinical standards.

Paul Scott, director of finance and performance at IHT, says: “While this remains an R&D project it has highlighted a different way of looking at our organisation, and the demand pressures we face. In addition, it has demonstrated the huge potential of looking at demand from a population rather than individual attendance basis.

“It also allows us to try out ‘what if’ scenarios. In short, it has given us a whole new platform for discussion and changed the conversation at board level to focus on moving to a more sophisticated way of visualising and reporting data. The IHT board has even requested that geographic information and location is included within its business intelligence strategy.”

The solution provides IHT with a combination of insight from Esri’s geographical information systems (GIS) and location analytics technology and high-quality clinical and financial data analysis, feeding into long-term financial modelling, provided by the actuarial service provider.

Esri UK’s location analytics solution was vitally important in delivering data visualisation to provide the required insight. Utilising the ArcGIS platform on IHT’s infrastructure behind a secure firewall, ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS for Desktop were deployed to provide services to a management insight dashboard.

The hospital has gained additional insight into demand for its A&E services by using our solution to map out A&E admissions by a range of variables,” says Dr Ed Wallington, health and social care lead, Esri UK. “By visualising the information as a hotspot analysis, it has been able to highlight the source of demand. And it has achieved a much greater understanding of the status of demand by using our Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting tools to break down A&E attendees by number of cases, average waiting time or mode of travel, and then split the figures down by timeframes.”

Moving forward, the trust believes the outputs from patient demand analysis, mapping insights and possible interventions could provide a basis for service reconfiguration and therefore wastage reductions. The use of GIS information, in particular in conjunction with actuarial, could put IHT ahead of other National Health Service Trusts in terms of innovative use of IT in healthcare provision.