New report highlights at least £16.5billion of efficiencies for the NHS

Volterra report with EMC highlights opportunity for predictive and preventative medicine to accelerate the ‘Wellness Model’

A new report outlines how data analytics and better use of information can improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery in the UK by up to 60%, with the potential to save the NHS between £16.5billion and £66billion a year.

The NHS is currently facing a £34billion funding gap by 2020 and radical action is needed to preserve its core values of ‘providing free healthcare for everyone’.

Now a new report, Sustaining Universal Healthcare: Making Better Use of Information, released today by Volterra Partners and EMC, is recommending the use of information sharing and collaboration to deliver a pro-active, personalised ‘Wellness Model’ structure focused on prevention.

Nick Bosanquet, Emeritus Professor of Health Policy at Imperial College, and an economist at Volterra Partners, explained: “There has been considerable speculation that the NHS, as a universal healthcare institution, cannot continue in its current form. We need drastic change to cope with the increasing demands from an ageing population, chronic health conditions, and emergency re-admissions. The report estimates that, with better informatics, cancer admissions could be reduced by 30%. This example, and other predicted savings calculated in the study, offer a clear path to delivering the ‘Wellness Model’.”

The report exposes the gap between the NHS and other industries in its use of data analytics and technology. The lack of electronic records, predictive analytics, collaboration and effective monitoring of patient and treatment outcomes, in addition to personalised care, is leading to failures and financial inefficiencies that are unsustainable in the long-term.

Increasing the accessibility and agility of data, improving mobility, ensuring we’re secure and compliant, and offering flexibility and scalability while investing in the appropriate skills and learning from other industries, is crucial to preserving an icon of British society

James Norman, healthcare business development director at EMC Computer Systems (UK), said: “Transformation in healthcare is needed now. If we want to save the NHS, we should be ambitious and bold. We need a more joined-up system in place to drive interoperability of patient records and to better use the valuable information insights we generate. Doing so would mean that we could more easily identify the combination of factors that would put a patient at risk of generating a chronic condition, opening up the opportunity to prescribe treatment before they become ill. Or, this could allow us to develop personalised medicines, improve early diagnoses and analyse specific treatments to maximise the benefit of medicines used.

“Increasing the accessibility and agility of data, improving mobility, ensuring we’re secure and compliant, and offering flexibility and scalability while investing in the appropriate skills and learning from other industries, is crucial to preserving an icon of British society.”

There are pockets of excellence across the UK where data analytics has been effectively employed to deliver better quality of care for patients. If these examples were implemented nationally, the report states, this would result in savings of:

  • £840m per year due to a reduction in A&E attendances
  • £200m per year through reduced complications due to diabetes
  • £126m per year through better care management for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Up to £32m per year through the reduction of readmission rates
  • £5billion of savings in staff time through more-efficient working practices

Scotland has used informatics technology to provide an integrated care model for the treatment of diabetes. This collaborative data-driven project has yielded impressive results, with the incidence of lower-extremity amputation decreasing by 30% over four years and major amputations falling by 40%. The report estimates that, if the same system was implemented in England, it could result in 1,775 fewer amputations, saving the NHS £37m per year.

The report identifies a number of recommendations to further enhance patient care, including:

  • Speeding up the accessibility of data and communicating the benefits to patients and GPs ahead of time to build trust and buy in
  • Collaboration at a local level with health institutions and academia
  • Investment in appropriate skills in the health workforce to handle and use data effectively
  • A change in culture within the Department of Health to drive a real shift to the ‘Wellness Model’, rather than just using data to improve performance management

If we want to save the NHS, we should be ambitious and bold. We need a more joined-up system in place to drive interoperability of patient records and to better use the valuable information insights we generate

Norman concluded: “A ‘Wellness Model’ will have broader ramifications, too, helping to reduce the estimated £14billion in lost productivity due to sick days British workers take each year. A healthier workforce will also contribute to long-term economic growth.”

The ‘Wellness Model’ is a new approach to healthcare that requires a pro-active, personalised approach, rather than a reactive ‘illness-driven’ health industry. It is a holistic approach aimed at empowering individuals to take more control over their own lifestyles and care, as well as making the healthcare sector more efficient and effective. This can only be achieved through collaboration and sharing of information, says the report.

Click here to download the report.

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