100 Ways of Using Data to Make Lives Better

Small Business Research Initiative: Improving Healthcare Planning

Published on: 4th August 2017

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Public Health
Case Study 94

Project lead: David Ford, Swansea University

Swansea University’s Health Informatics Group and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU) posed a question to businesses -‘How can we improve the health and wellbeing of our population through the better use of population health information?’

The Challenge

NHS organisations such as Health Boards need better data and more sophisticated analysis to determine what services are needed, how effective new services are and to predict what will be required in the future.

ABMU Health Board operates four acute hospitals and employs 16,500 staff, 70% of whom are involved in direct patient care, but the data it held was often found to be fragmented.

It needed a clear idea how to exploit information it held, to plan services against the background of a constantly changing population.

The Research

In 2013, with the backing of the Welsh Government and Innovate UK, ABMU Health Board and Swansea University posed a question to businesses:

‘How can we improve the health and wellbeing of our population through the better use of population health information?’

Businesses were invited to submit proposals to develop tools, methods and approaches that would use the world famous databank of Welsh health and social demographic data, the SAIL Databank, to assist in the planning and evaluation of health services and ultimately drive service improvement.

The Results

Two Swansea-based companies– We Predict and GP Commissioning Solutions Ltd – emerged from the feasibility stage of a three-year Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition set by ABMU and Swansea University’s Farr Institute Health Informatics group. SBRI encourages innovative ideas from industry that can solve challenges faced by the public sector.

GP Commissioning Solutions’ online software allows clinicians and managers to ask complex questions about health services using every day terminology, without having to understand data and systems.

The software developed by We Predict uses sophisticated analysis methods to describe, evaluate and predict health and healthcare trends.

The Impact

This project will allow ABMU to unlock the wealth of information that is available to it, enabling it to understand how its population and patients are using its services. This will help ABMU to plan more effective NHS services which better meet the needs of its population.


For more information visit www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/nhs-in-wales-uses-sbri-scheme-to-improve-healthcare-planning

Enquiries to Sarah Toomey, Communications Officer, Farr Institute CIPHER, s.toomey@swansea.ac.uk

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