Looking for value in hard times

How a new approach to priority setting can help improve patient care while making savings

August 2012

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Key points

  • By using the Star approach, NHS Sheffield were able to agree changes to their eating disorder services with clinicians, service users and other stakeholders.
  • The changes they have made are expected to improve both patient care and value for money, with the project showing potential for substantial savings.

This report describes a new approach to priority setting called Star (socio-technical allocation of resources). The approach is designed to help commissioners and others pinpoint where they may be able to get additional value from their resources by using them more effectively.

It works by producing simple visual models, developed interactively with stakeholders, so that everyone involved can understand the nature of the choices to be made, and the disadvantages of not changing current practices.

The approach combines value for money analysis with stakeholder engagement. This allows those planning services to determine how resources can be most effectively invested, while the engagement of stakeholders means the decisions are understood and supported by those most affected.

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