News, NHS trust

Guy’s and St Thomas’ data tool identifies risk-factors to support prioritisation

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has developed a new IT platform capable of identifying “high risk” diabetes patients from waiting lists, with the trust sharing how the platform is “enabling them to be prioritised for urgent care and contributing to a reduction in health inequalities”.

A data informatics tool was developed through collaboration between the trust’s Centre for Innovation, Transformation and Improvement, the diabetes team and analytics partner Factor 50. In the pilot project, data was taken from electronic health records to identify six risk-factors, and then patient information was run through the tool in order to identify the individuals who are most at risk whilst waiting for an appointment.

The team went on to build a clinician-facing dashboard capable of demonstrating the individual’s risk category, relevant events and related clinical data, along with their expected waiting time before their next routine appointment. The trust shares how this flags ‘hidden risk’ patients and “prioritises them to get the treatment they need to stabilise their condition”. In addition, it highlights “the patients of lowest risk who could be seen less frequently in clinic, saving them needless journeys to hospital and freeing up appointment slots.”

The trust says that the tool is now being adapted with the aim of benefiting patients with other chronic conditions such as kidney disease, heart failure and inherited cardiac conditions.

The pilot also found that “a disproportionate number of patients highlighted as high-risk were from minoritised backgrounds and lived in areas of social deprivation”. As such, the trust plans to expand the data prioritisation tool as part of efforts to tackle health inequalities.

Janaka Karalliedde, lead author and a consultant at the trust, said: “This IT tool has been invaluable in helping us look after our most vulnerable and poorly patients. By working out patients’ risks, we can make sure those who need urgent care are seen quickly while also helping us use our resources in the most strategic and efficient way.”

Colin Kinloch, director of funding at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity added:  “This pilot study is a brilliant example of how funding innovative technologies can lead to significant improvements in health outcomes and a reduction in health inequalities.”

In related diabetes news, the Data Alliance Partnership Board approved a new diabetes record information standard, recommended by The Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB), earlier this year.

NHS Wales also recently developed a new digital dashboard to make it easier for laboratory staff and clinicians to view information in south, west and mid Wales for patients who are awaiting kidney transplants.