New technology developed by Bupa Health Dialog will be used to help GPs in the West Midlands to predict the future healthcare needs of their population.

 The West Midlands Financial Risk Stratification tool will predict the future healthcare resources that are likely to be used by individual patients, building on the work of PARR++ and the Combined Predictive Model, which were developed by think-tanks.

The new tool is tailored to the needs of NHS West Midlands, and uses inpatient as well as outpatient data, accident and emergency information and data extracted from GP practices.

The developers say this will create a more evidence based and comprehensive picture of the region’s future healthcare needs.

David Hegarty, GP and Chair of the Dudley Commissioning Board said:“Our Commissioning Board is in the process of rolling-out the West Midlands Financial Risk Stratification tool.

"It has the potential to help us treat more of our patients closer to home which we know most would prefer.

"The innovative technology will help us to achieve this by predicting, identifying and managing long term conditions – our patients will see the benefits through more targeted, personalised care.”

Patient data is stored and analysed on NHS West Midlands’ own system, managed by the Healthcare Commissioning Service (HCS).

HCS is an NHS body, wholly owned and run by primary care trusts in the West Midlands. HCS provides PCTs and GP consortia with access to commercial skills and the commissioning information required to deliver better quality care within increasingly tighter budgetary constraints.

Bob Darin, Bupa Health Dialog Managing Director said:“The benefits for patients in the West Midlands are enormous, as the technology enables GPs to identify the people that would most benefit from targeted care, thereby helping to improve clinical outcomes.

"In addition, NHS West Midlands has the potential to reap huge gains in efficiency by identifying patients in most need of support and avoiding unnecessary emergency hospitalisations.”

The new technology will be particularly useful in helping NHS West Midlands work towards one of its key objectives of identifying and managing long term conditions, such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, within its patient population.

By identifying people who would most benefit from personalised care, GPs will now be able to concentrate their efforts by targeting individuals most likely to be admitted to hospital in an emergency and when most beneficial to the patient, moving their care into the community or home.