Information Support for Health Care Purchasing

D. Worthington, A Gatrell and S Hollis - £80,000

“NHS managers generally recognise that whilst nowadays the NHS possesses much data, it still has relatively little usable information on which to base many important management decisions.”

“One vital area of decision making is health care commissioning where purchasers are required to make informed decisions about service developments.”

The principal objective of the research was to develop an improved understanding of the information requirements for health care ‘purchasers’ and to investigate ways in which a DSS (Decision Supporting System) approach incorporating GIS (Geographic Information System) based methods and EBHC (evidence-based healthcare) guidance can be used to cater for those needs.

An important perspective of the research was to concentrate on systems that use available demographic, geographic, patient and evidence-based healthcare information.

The specific objective was to devise and evaluate a computer-based decision supporting system for obtaining, analysing and making sense of:

  • demographic data for spatial needs assessment, including morbidity and deprivation indices
  • data on the provision and uptake of services, including the effects of access and distance
  • evidence-based healthcare guidelines
  • local service structure to identify feasible patterns and locations of care; in order to facilitate healthcare commissioning in a Primary Care Led service