Population Health Management ‘Hackathons’ in South Warwickshire
Why change was needed
The formation of Integrated Care Systems has led to teams of analysts from the NHS and local authorities joining forces. Working together is a key aim of Integrated Care Systems but each team of analysts has a different skill set and use different data sources, which can make integrated working a challenge. Whilst there are mechanisms for integrated working between clinicians and managers, there had been far less attention on how analysts can work in an integrated way.
What we did
To carry out analysis for the Population Health Management module of the NHS England Place Development Programme in South Warwickshire in 2022, a series of hackathons were held by senior analyst managers and leaders from Warwickshire County Council, Coventry and Warwickshire CCG, and South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust.
A hackathon is a design sprint-like event, typically where software development professionals collaborate intensively on software projects. In this case, analysts from the different organisations used the hackathon events to analyse health data using a linked data set to identify opportunities for beneficial health intervention in the local population.
There were already strong relationships between organisations due to the existing partnerships in South Warwickshire. This was further enhanced by the move towards Integrated Care Systems, including the collaboration by the Coventry and Warwickshire Population Health Management Board, as well as a joint Consultant in Public health appointment between the NHS Provider Trust and County Council.
The hackathons had representation from the analyst teams in all three organisations and were supported by a linked data set.
In total three hackathons were run. The structure used high level population health data to identify priorities, and then the linked data set to identify cohorts of around 1000 patients who might benefit from an intervention. The cohort chosen was children between the ages of 12 to 19 who had multiple hospital attendances, these often included a mental health diagnosis. In the third session, a health needs assessment was carried out so that an intervention could be developed.
The hackathons made effective use of the analyst expertise and skills within the system, with each organisation able to contribute ideas and different data. The exchange in perspectives and hackathon methodology meant that insight could be drawn from data quickly and robust slide sets showing the findings were produced by the group.
In between the hackathons the data was discussed with an Action Learning Set of senior leaders, clinicians, as well as members and officers from local government for feedback. This resulted in a new idea for an intervention to provide care coordination to children awaiting a CAMHS appointment, based on a social prescribing model.
The innovative approach to integrating analyst perspectives helped to instil confidence in the findings, and because of the analysis the business case was inputted into the South Warwickshire Place work programme. The hackathon methodology will be incorporated into the local Decision Support Unit approach as an effective way of integrating analyst perspectives in future and has wider applications in the local health and care system, such as providing a mechanism to produce the Warwickshire JSNA.