Use of novel modelling techniques and routinely collected data to explore responses to winter pressures

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Academy)

  • Being run by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Academy).
  • Refining a novel modelling technique to simulate patient flow using readily available routine data in order to provide new flow models to support decision making and change management.
  • Case study of strategies to improve responses to winter workload pressures at Bradford Royal Infirmary.
  • Will run from October 2018 to October 2019.

Making any change in an organisation as large and complex as the NHS is always difficult and potentially risky. Computerised modelling techniques offer the opportunity to obtain robust estimates of how effective any change might be. However, modelling is an under-used tool operationally in the NHS due to difficulties with using traditional techniques and a lack of data in the depth required to drive these.

This proof-of-concept project run by the Yorkshire and Humber Improvement Academy will demonstrate the application of a new modelling technique to explore strategies to cope with winter workload pressures in hospitals. It will aim to show that using readily available information in a computerised model can provide a structured approach to support decision making.

The project team has already successfully modelled patient flow and resource use through the hospital’s intensive care unit using a novel approach based on the use of routinely collected historical data.

This project will expand this approach to the whole hospital, which has 900 inpatient beds. Different, but still routine, data sources will be used to produce a model which can test strategies the NHS could use to deal with the problems faced during the winter months.

This large-scale demonstration of powerful data modelling will generate a process and an open-source R code (a free, widely used statistical programming language) that could be used in other trusts to model their own patient flow and resource use. This would potentially improve analytical capabilities across the NHS and reduce barriers to modelling.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Tom Lawton, Critical Care Consultant, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

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