Early warning system cuts hospital admissions

UK - The King’s Fund has launched a computerised programme to provide an early warning system to identify patients with long-term conditions who are most at risk of admittance to hospital. A wide range of patient information - such as age, type of illness, and recent contacts with the National Health Service (NHS) is processed to work out which patients are most in need of care. Once prioritised, NHS care teams can then work with patients to help them maintain their health and avoid a visit to hospital.

King’s Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said that if the programme is successful: ‘...the prize would be immense - better care of a higher quality delivered earlier to patients, fewer unnecessary hospital admissions and better use of NHS resources.’

The project was commissioned by Essex Strategic Health Authority (SHA), acting as lead commissioner for the country’s 28 SHAs, the Department of Health and the NHS Modernisation Agency. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), and the King’s Fund devised the programme with researchers at New York University and Health Dialog - a care management firm that specialises in analytics and chronic disease management.

The new software (available free to the NHS) is being further developed to incorporate data from community sources in addition to hospital data, and this final version is expected to become available early next year.

02.08.2006

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