Health information systems unveil latest projects

The work of the GM CLAHRC Systems Research team has been selected by experts from the Department of Health to feature at this year’s Health Innovation Expo.

The team will be demonstrating two of their latest innovations; COCPIT (Collaborative Online Care Pathway Investigation Tool) and IMPACT – which were chosen by a panel of experts from the DH because they can potentially improve the quality and productivity of patient care.

COCPIT can be used to analyse patient health records in order to help practitioners’ model care pathways for complex health conditions and explore the interaction between them. It lets medics track patient journeys through the healthcare system and identify where care differs from guidelines. IMPACT is an analytical simulation engine used to examine the effects of changes to clinical and public health policy. 

John Ainsworth, a Senior Research Fellow from The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, said the tool could lead to major changes in the way patients with certain conditions are treated.

“Our researchers have created an innovative software tool that enables health professionals to better understand the provision of healthcare services and opportunities for quality improvement,” Mr Ainsworth, who is also part of the Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre – a partnership between the University and six NHS Trusts which aims to help implement research and innovation into practice, said. “This will improve healthcare planning by identifying inconsistencies and inequalities in healthcare provision and allow healthcare professionals to specifically focus on illuminating social inequalities in care. The tool will aid assessment of the clinical outcomes and economic impacts of intervention strategies and potential changes to care pathways intended to improve patient care and public health.”

Using the tool GPs, health professionals and commissioning organisations explore and analyse electronic health records. The tool allows professionals to:

  • Identify at-risk patients
  • Audit current clinical practice
  • Investigate data quality issues
  • Explore inequalities in care

Mr Ainsworth added: “By making it easier to explore electronic health records, COCPIT helps clinicians and managers to understand patient populations, target service delivery, reduce work repetition and improve patient care.”

One example might be that medics could re-trace the steps of patients who went on to have strokes to see whether their age, ethnicity, gender and socio-economic circumstances showed a common pattern. They could also look at any earlier identifying factors such as raised blood pressure and treat this, for example by offering medication, dietary and lifestyle advice.

Theme lead for the Health Information Systems Research Theme, Professor Iain Buchan said: “The Health Innovation Expo will provide a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase some of the sophisticated work we have produced here in Manchester. Both systems are innovative ways to analyse medical data to help practitioners identify more effective care pathways for their patients. We hope that this event will lead to a widespread uptake of the tools.”

Healthcare Innovation Expo is set to take place on 13-14 March at the London ExCeL Centre and is known to be the premier event for health and social care commissioners and providers. For more details click here.