Chair of health board says GPC project is “very exciting”

A recent press release from ABMU Health Board has cited a GPC project as very exciting. Full text is as follows:-

Medical staff are on course to spot the changing health needs of Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend residents much earlier in future, after data specialists from across the UK and Europe were invited to come up with a more effective way to analyse health information.

Measures to tackle childhood obesity, reduce levels of smoking and a host of other health issues are set to improve after six businesses drawn from the private, public and third sector were selected to find the best way to use data from the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank, developed by the Health Informatics group based in the College of Medicine at Swansea University.

SAIL works collaboratively with researchers, service professionals and industry to conduct and support research and to improve service delivery.

Now two local companies have been tasked with using this data to shape the future of patient care in the region. They were the strongest candidates to emerge from the feasibility phase of a three-year Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) launched in partnership with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU) and Swansea University’s Health Informatics group.

Hi-Tech Swansea firm GP Commissioning Solutions Ltd has developed a new way of describing healthcare data. In a first of its kind, online software will allow clinicians and managers to ask complex questions about health services using familiar terminology without having to understand data and systems. This approach will allow a better understanding of current services and promote improved outcomes through service planning.

Meanwhile Swansea-based data specialist We Predict will draw on its background in predicting failure rates in the global car industry to work on linked data held within the SAIL databank using highly sophisticated analysis methods in order to describe, evaluate and predict health and healthcare trends in the ABMU Health Board area.

If approved for deployment, these solutions will provide a comprehensive evaluation of existing health service within ABMU in order to drive further change appropriately.

Professor Andrew Davies, Chair of ABMU Health Board, said: “This is a very exciting project which will build on the strong relationship ABMU has with colleagues in Swansea University. Working collaboratively with two local businesses, this work will provide invaluable insights into the health and well being of our communities so that we can better plan our services to meet their needs.”

David Ford, Professor of Health Informatics at Swansea University, said: “This is a wonderful example of how university-based research and development can help the NHS provide better care to patients.  It is also highly gratifying to note that two innovative Welsh companies have got through to the final stages of this SBRI programme, which I am sure will put them in a strong position to grow in the future.”

Together, GP Commissioning Solutions and We Predict are working to help ABMU Health Board better understand the health needs of patients, and predict how these could change. This could support much more efficient use of resources, and ultimately help improve public health services; as well as the health and well-being of local communities.

These projects are part of a multi-million pound Welsh Government and Innovate UK SBRI Innovation Catalyst programme launched to promote the research and development industry and solve problems facing the public sector in Wales.

The collaboration with Innovate UK was announced in 2013 by Economy Minister Edwina Hart as a means of encouraging new innovative public sector projects, create more research and development contracts for Welsh businesses to bid for, and help the sector to grow and create jobs.

The Minister said: “The hope was always that SBRI could be used throughout the Welsh public sector for promoting innovation and providing new opportunities for businesses in Wales, so it really is a delight to see two local companies win through to the next stage of the project in the face of international competition on their own merits.

“The introduction of this programme reflects a wider commitment from Welsh Government to support the collaboration of Welsh businesses wherever possible, and ultimately build a strong and dynamic base where new technologies will continue to emerge and thrive.”