With specialised commissioning growing at a rapid pace and requiring some of the most costly interventions, the reliance on advanced data analysis to understand, monitor and manage care is increasing.
Specialised commissioning has grown at a faster pace than the core services commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). In the last four years alone, the budget for specialised commissioning services has grown from £13.5 billion in 2014/15, to £17.6 billion in 2018/19.1,2 This level of growth puts greater responsibility on the NHS to monitor and manage the impact of services and treatments which can benefit patients. This is where Business Intelligence (BI) has an important role to play—not just in understanding activity and its financial implications, but in supporting the commissioning and delivery of care.
The high value, low volume services covered by specialised commissioning have traditionally been commissioned by NHS England, with much of the service delivery taking place in specialist tertiary care centres. Patient pathways are often fragmented, with multiple contracts and separate arrangements in place with different providers across the country. When faced with so many variables, managing the finances to make sure they balance is crucial. The pressure to identify significant quality, innovation, productivity, and prevention (QIPP) savings is ever present, and yet negotiating power can be limited when dealing with such highly specialised, low volume treatments.
The pressure to identify significant quality, innovation, productivity, and prevention (QIPP) savings is ever present
Providing commissioners with the data and analysis to enable them to manage these complex contracts and identify QIPP savings is a core BI service. This requires significant number crunching—processing large volumes of data to show what treatments are being applied where, to whom and with what outcomes.
That need was the rationale behind the creation of the National Commissioning Data Repository (NCDR) which NHS England commissioned in 2014/15 financial year. The NCDR, built and hosted by NHS Arden & GEM CSU, provides comprehensive information on a wide range of commissioning and clinical data which is used across the country to support specialised commissioning.