Research theme: Health information systems

A lab worker looking at information on a computer.

What did we do?

We worked on developing the health information systems, methods and tools needed to improve healthcare planning in Greater Manchester, and on monitoring the impact of interventions intended to improve patient care.

Why was it important?

To help healthcare planning, simulation models of selected care pathways were designed that allowed commissioners to interactively examine the likely impact of new services before they were introduced.

How did we do it?

We made better use of existing NHS information systems to map patient volume and flow through clinical care pathways. These pathways extend from the population through general practice and community services to acute and tertiary care hospitals for vascular disease. The new information resources were then used to monitor the impact of our projects relating to the quality of patient care.

Products developed

COCPIT is a tool for exploring and analysing electronic health records. It helps to model care pathways and complex patient conditions, and explore the interaction between them. Results can be analysed using any demographic information and can identify inequalities in care provision or high risk groups. By making it easier to explore electronic records, COCPIT helps to understand patient populations, target service delivery, reduce work repetition, and improve patient care. More information about COCPIT is available on the North West EHealth website.

IMPACT is an analytical simulation engine used to examine the effects of changes to clinical and public health policy. It features two modelling components: the ‘stock of health model’ simulates an entire population, applying risk factors to determine the rate of decline in health for each individual; and the ‘discrete event simulator’ models the effect of clinical practice on a cohort of patients with a particular disease. The risk factors and clinical practice can be modified, allowing ‘what if’ scenarios for different public health policies and clinical practice to be compared. IMPACT is used to study the epidemiology of heart disease. However, the tools are highly flexible and generic and can be easily adapted to other diseases.

More information

For more information please email clahrc@srft.nhs.uk.