New software could help cut hospital admissions

March 7, 2013, University of Manchester

New software, which will allow GP practice managers to improve healthcare for chronic illnesses including strokes, Alzheimer's and cancer, will be unveiled by scientists from The University of Manchester next week (13 & 14 March). Experts have devised a computer programme which analyses how many patients in a practice have suffered from different conditions over a particular time period and identifies those who might require hospital treatment in the future.

Against a back drop of a drive for NHS efficiency savings, they believe the software will help practice managers to spot patterns earlier and reduce the number of costly hospital admissions for conditions like strokes by providing early intervention treatments. The breakthrough, which is already being trialled at a North West hospital, is one of a number of health innovations going on display at the Europe's largest healthcare innovation event, the Healthcare Innovation Expo 2013, this month (March) held at the ExCeL Centre, London.

The software is part of the Greater Manchester Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) project. John Ainsworth, a Senior Research Fellow from The University of Manchester's Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, said the tool could lead to major changes in the way patients with certain conditions were treated. Known as COCPIT (Collaborative Online Care Pathway Investigation Tool), the software lets medics track patient journeys through the healthcare system and identify where care differs from guidelines.

"Our researchers have created an innovative software tool that enables health professionals to better understand the provision of healthcare services and opportunities for quality improvement," Mr Ainsworth, who is also part of the Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre – a partnership between the University and six NHS Trusts which aims to help implement research and innovation into practice, said. "This will improve healthcare planning by identifying inconsistencies and inequalities in healthcare provision and allow healthcare professionals to specifically focus on illuminating social inequalities in care. The tool will aid assessment of the clinical outcomes and economic impacts of intervention strategies and potential changes to care pathways intended to improve patient care and public health."

Using the tool GPs, health professionals and commissioning organisations explore and analyse electronic health records. The tool allows professionals to:

  • Identify at-risk patients,
  • Audit current clinical practice,
  • Investigate data quality issues,
  • Explore inequalities in care.

Mr Ainsworth said: "By making it easier to explore electronic records, COCPIT helps clinicians and managers to understand patient populations, target service delivery, reduce work repetition and improve patient care."

One example might be that medics could re-trace the steps of patients who went on to have strokes to see whether their age, ethnicity, gender and socio-economic circumstances showed a common pattern. They could also look at any earlier identifying factors such as raised blood pressure and treat this, for example by offering medication, dietary and lifestyle advice.

Explore further: Health inequalities could be reduced by more effective health care, says new study

More information: www.healthcareinnovationexpo.com/index.asp

Related Stories

Health inequalities could be reduced by more effective health care, says new study

October 31, 2012
Wide differences in death rates from disease still persist throughout England – but effective healthcare can help to reduce these inequalities, a new study has discovered.

Electronic health records could help identify which patients most need ICU resources

January 31, 2013
A national shortage of critical care physicians and beds means difficult decisions for healthcare professionals: how to determine which of the sickest patients are most in need of access to the intensive care unit.

Allowing patient access to chosen GP would reduce costs for the NHS

April 19, 2012
A University of Leicester study has provided clear evidence that allowing a patient to see a particular doctor in the GP surgery has an important impact on reducing hospital admissions.

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.