How AI can help NHS trusts uncover critical improvement opportunities

Steve Brain, Executive Director of Health & Care, Civica #AIWeek2021

Patient level costing data is one of the richest, yet underused data sets available to hospitals. It’s already being used throughout the NHS, helping inform new methods of pricing NHS services and contributing to NHS Improvement’s strategic objective of a single, national cost collection. 

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (NWAngliaFT) recognised the importance of patient level costing data, evidenced by the recent introduction of our new AI platform, Aurum. The platform, developed in Civica’s NorthStar innovation lab, uses the latest data science techniques to find instances of systemic variation in clinical activity, which would otherwise go undiscovered. Harnessing AI against patient level data, Aurum finds significant opportunities to optimise use of Trust resources, support the delivery of best value healthcare and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

 

Better quality, efficient care

The assisted analytics platform takes insights from cloud software, which already provides NWAngliaFT with patient level costing, service line reporting and end-to-end cost management. The platform applies intelligent analysis at the most granular level across multiple specialties and settings such as operating theatres, pharmacies and wards. This delivers valuable insights to decision makers significantly quicker than using current tools.

By analysing data, Aurum identifies consistently varied activities such as duration in theatre or length of stay. For example, the platform will spot the top performing consultants who consistently take 30-40 mins less than the median in their peer group against a standard, low complexity procedure. This means Trusts can better tailor support to clinicians, spotting areas for improvement, and help improve overall quality and efficiency of care.

 

Significant savings

In a recent pilot with six NHS Trusts, the platform completed the equivalent of 13 years of traditional analysis in under 24 hours. The pilot identified a minimum of 3% additional annual cost savings for each Trust, finding nearly £40m of improvement opportunities to drive operational efficiencies in healthcare delivery and patient care. NWAngliaFT’s pilot found a sample of the opportunities, with a value of £10m identified from FY19/20 data.

 

Managing a turbulent time

This year has been an incredibly difficult time for the NHS. With resources and budgets strained, it’s been paramount for Trusts to find new and innovative ways to increase capacity through improved efficiencies. The implementation of the Aurum platform will play a critical role in supporting the long-term financial stability of NWAngliaFT, while helping to increase productivity and improving the overall quality of care.

Every opportunity to make improvements across our national healthcare system is crucial and AI platforms are increasingly proving to be a vital tool for freeing up Trust staff and allowing data-driven decision making at a time of unprecedented pressure.

 

Steve Brain, Executive Director of Health & Care, Civica

 

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