News, Primary Care News

Mapping tool introduced by NHS South, Central and West CSU for home visits

NHS South, Central and West CSU (SCW) has introduced new mapping and modelling techniques to support housebound patient visits for GPs and nurses in Somerset.

The tool went live on 4 February 2021 to help reach as many patients in a day, in the least number of journeys.

The CSU (commissioning support unit) used the Esri UK mapping tool to model routes, which takes into consideration factors such as location of vaccine and patients. In result, the CSU said journey times have shortened and more COVID vaccine doses can now be delivered each day.

It uses mapping techniques with Ordnance Survey data, rather than postcode data, which is believed to be more accurate and granular.

Following the CSU’s feedback that  ‘the first round of vaccinations had turned out to be quite hectic’, Allison Nation, Associate Director of Digital Strategy for Somerset CCG was approached by one of her PCN (primary care network) GPs asking: “Is there not some clever tech the CSU have, like using mapping?

The CSU then introduced the modelling tool; it uses a structured data set which contains a unique patient identifier, such as an NHS or EMIS system number, and the full address to pinpoint specific house locations. Using this data, the analysis creates the fewest number of trips needed over the time period.

Each route is sequenced from start to finish, giving the order in which the mapping tool recommends the visits be done. The journey data is supplied in a spreadsheet with a map providing a visualisation of the routes.

Dr Sally di Mambro, GP principle/partner at Wellington Medical Centre/Taunton Deane West PCN, added: “The SCW GIS team assisted at short notice in allocating our 220-ish housebound patient groups into ordered geographical groups. With three practices and crossing over lists/geographical areas, it is a way in which the housebound vaccinating can be organised without the need for agonising lists and cross referencing between practices.

“The templates are clear and functional and the time allocation per vial of AZ 6 hours, as well as sensible prediction of times with patients, allows a clear representation of what is possible. The team add in the travelling times and provide a clear estimation of total time required per vial. We have found the team approachable and responsive. They have risen to our last-minute demands with efficiency and professionalism. In short, the exercise has been time well spent.”