In this article we assess the current challenges to the UK healthcare system and how modelling and simulation solutions can help.
UK health systems are under significant pressure to respond to rising demand, especially/even more so since the outbreak of Covid 19 and with no immediate prospect of additional funding. Meeting this challenge will require more focused operational management, coupled with an acceleration of innovation. In response, commissioners and service leads are increasingly turning to system modelling and simulation approaches to shape new service pathways, which enhance the performance and quality of existing services, and make more informed decisions about where to direct resources.
How can Modelling Help?
Today’s modelling and simulation techniques are helping healthcare leaders develop new integrated models of care, redesign and improve care pathways, evaluate cost/capacity trade-offs, predict future demand more accurately and forecast how services will be used by patients. The techniques, applied through collaborative partnerships between service providers, commissioners and modellers are proving invaluable in helping healthcare leaders respond more effectively to today’s complex health and social care challenges and prepare for the challenges of the future.
Advanced analytical techniques such as modelling, simulation and forecasting are playing an increasingly important role in shaping service delivery, enhancing performance and optimising resources in the healthcare industry.
Modelling offers a powerful way to assess risks when developing alternative approaches to pathway or service redesign, enabling the mapping and quantification of potential alternative actions. Using these techniques, healthcare leaders are able to better understand how the adoption of any change impacts the larger system, the outcomes of changing demand, and the optimum cost/capacity trade-off.
The process of modelling and simulation provides an ideal platform for inter-organisational exchange, learning from best practice, knowledge sharing and capturing the needs of service users.
The emergence of new healthcare modelling solutions and resources has made these techniques more accessible to NHS and other healthcare organisations.
The benefits of this system modelling approach include:
- Identifying best practice and develop repeatable models of care
- Supporting commissioning by providing an evidence base for policy changes
- Appraising existing healthcare structures and determine whether to retain, refurbish or dismantle a resource (hospital, service or care pathway, for example)
- Forecasting future admissions, likely treatment mix, expected bed occupancy and patient length of stay
- Undertaking service cost analysis and assess variable cost against projected demand
- Evaluating workforce skill mix and undertake scheduling against expected demand
- Building the business case for a specialist pathway redesign
- Evaluating the impact of funding delays
- Implementing quality improvements
- Optimising clinic/hospital layouts
- Developing priority queuing systems to improve patient outcomes
But the wider benefits of the modelling and simulation process itself are also proving to be far-reaching.
How can the Pharmaceutical Industry use Pathway Modelling?
Pharmaceutical manufacturers can use the pathway tool to communicate the value proposition of their drug or product in terms of effectiveness, demonstrating predicted cost-savings to NHS Trust Healthcare professionals, should they consider utilising the drug as part of a treatment programme. The drug’s value proposition has to be supported with verifiable complex clinical trial results and real-world supporting evidence and presented in a digestible and coherent manner. Each of these results have to be comprehensively referenced to ensure compliance with the relevant ABPI regulations on pharmaceutical promotion.
In addition, clients want their sales consultants to be able to model the actual treatment pathways used by the healthcare professional they are speaking to, simultaneously calculating the cost-benefit impact of that specific pathway – all whilst in-call and within short timeframes. Finally, a detailed customised summary report in Pathway format, is required to be emailed to the healthcare professional following the consultant’s meeting.
How LVC as a Digital Healthcare Agency can help
LVC is a pharmaceutical and healthcare digital solutions agency who use strategic thinking and vast experience to design and develop innovative digital solutions, specifically for the healthcare industry.
Using our marketing and communications experience, combined with our specialist in-house medical experts, to restructure the core messages, creating coherent and engaging value stories that transmit complex data in clear visualisations, bound together with a strong narrative flow.
For the cost-benefit modelling, LVC can develop Budget Impact Models that enable sales consultants to quickly create customised treatment pathways in front of their audience, and rapidly and credibly calculate the cost and resource benefits of using a drug, based on either specific patient numbers or CCG/ICS population values. The results can be simplified into a single summary chart that enables the target audience to rapidly understand the benefits of the drug.
Our Pathway Apps have had a significant impact on clients’ sales forces, simplifying their messaging and creating greater understanding of their product’s benefits and value propositions. Specifically, in one case, based on three-month’s experience in the field, a client reported a significant increase in the number of NHS customers interested in or actively increasing their usage of their drug. Anecdotal reports from sales consultants are extremely positive, increasing both their own confidence in customer presentations and the usage of the drug within the NHS.
‘Absolutely Fantastic tool’ – National Sales Manager
We specialise in pathway modelling and Budget Impact Models (BIM) tools. Contact us for a deeper discussion or if you would like a demo.