NHS Vale of York CCG has rolled out predictive intervention technology to identify patients at risk of unplanned hospital care.

Health Navigator uses analytics and machine learning techniques to identify patients who may benefit from health coaching, particularly those with long-term health conditions.

Delivered by registered clinicians, the service is designed to support patients with complex conditions and empower them to take control of their health, thus reducing A&E admissions and unplanned emergency care.

The project has been commissioned by NHS Vale of York CCG and aims to address the NHS’s increasing demand for urgent and emergency care services, as highlighted in figures released by NHS Digital recently which showed that emergency admissions have peaked nationally.

Evidence from a local randomised control trial (RCT) at York Teaching Hospital showed a 36% reduction in A&E attendances for patients supported by health coaching.

It also demonstrated a 30% reduction in unplanned hospital admissions and some 25% lower planned admissions for the same Vale of York CCG patients.

Based on the results, NHS Vale of York CCG has now expanded the contract to 1,800 patients.

Fiona Bell, the CCG’s lead officer for primary care, said: “High emergency admissions are a system problem, not just the responsibility of secondary care. A lot of people go to A&E if they are feeling anxious about their health or they need reassurance.

“We needed to find a way to support these patients to help them understand their conditions better, make life changes which will improve their health and know which services to access when they need support.

“From the local RCT, we found that 55% of patients felt much more engaged with their care, whilst 84% of people reported an improved quality of life and having more confidence in managing their conditions. These results are really impressive and have a huge impact on patients’ everyday lives.”

There are plans for Vale of York to become the first CCG to extend this type of service into primary care to alleviate the increasing demand for GP appointments, which Bell described as a “really exciting next step”.

She added: “If we can replicate the results from the RCT trial on a larger scale then we are confident that we will have a significant and positive impact on reducing growth in A&E attendances and non-elective admissions.

A wider RCT includes a total of seven NHS acute sites working with Health Navigator. Interim results from these other sites are similar, in some cases demonstrating up to 59% reduction in unplanned hospital admissions.

Joachim Werr, Health Navigator CEO, said: “We know that 1% of the UK population accounts for 50% of non-elective bed days, so there is huge potential for new models of care such as this, based on scientific and real-world evidence of patient benefit, to reduce avoidable admissions and improve system performance.

“Vale of York has invested in a service that, most importantly, supports patients to lead healthier lives, but also has the potential for major service transformation and improvement” concluded Werr.