Councils could make huge savings by identifying people at risk of requiring high-cost social care in future, through a new IT tool.
The predictive model, launched today by think-tank the Nuffield Trust, could help councils intervene early to support people to remain at home and independent, delaying or preventing entry to residential care.
It involves combining past social care and health records for individuals to predict future need, and is based upon models already used by hospitals to identify people at risk of admissions and prevent avoidable ones.
Such approaches have not previously been tested in social care, but potentially they could:-
• Identify people who could be offered preventive care to keep them healthier and reduce their risk of requiring intensive social care.
• Analyse gaps in care to examine the difference between the care people received and the best possible care they could get.
• Develop planning tools that assess the financial impact of preventive health and social care.
“Linking patients’ information in this way has real potential to improve the quality of care patients receive,” said research head Dr Martin Bardsley.
“The prize is not only greater independence for older people, but also significant potential cost savings for health and social care budgets – critical as UK public services enter a period of constrained funding.”
The trust now wants the model to be piloted and evaluated.
Bardsley said that in order to exploit the information social care data systems needed to record and code information more consistently.
He also said there were confidentiality issues about linking health and social care data for individuals and called for clearer national protocols over what is and is not permissible to share.
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