A winter pressures business intelligence tool developed at Ipswich Hospital with Medeanalytics is providing an early warning system for capacity shortfalls and enabling the trust to develop alternative provision.

The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has used the solution to analyse previous winters’ demand and then forecast its bed use this winter – highlighting a potential shortfall of 45 beds this February and March.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich Hospital, said the ability to analyse previous winters’ data and to pinpoint patient cohorts at risk of emergency admission had helped the trust plan for this winter. A hard evidence base had mobilsed clinicians around a “Gearing up for Winter” campaign across the hospital.

He told Digital Health: “everybody says it is the frail elderly, but when we started to break the data down and look in detail at the admissions and length of stay, we found it was respiratory admissions that peaked in winter.”

By developing a bed-modelling tool within Medeanalytics, the trust was able to predict the shortfall of 45 beds at times of peak demand this winter and to develop alternative provision for at risk patients, including a frail elderly assessment unit and a community-based crisis action team. 

Mr Hulme said: “The main advantage is that we now have real time information. Everybody in the organisation can go to a desktop computer and analyse what is going on.

“We can look back and learn for the future as well as know on a day to day basis how many patients are likely to be coming in so that we can match resource to demand. It has given us confidence to know that the decisions we are making are based on fact, not anecdote.”