Positive Practice gets Predictive…..  Mike Farrar CBE

How one of our major partners is showing how new forms of data management and analysis can create safer services and how service users are calling the shots……

The mission of the Positive Practice Collaborative is to help services and providers showcase their practice in order that everyone can learn and develop new and better ways of working.

It’s a simple and well respected concept but it also runs a risk. A risk that replication and standardisation (glorious aims in their own right of course), take precedence over innovative and developmental approaches to service provision.

This risk is one we are keen to see managed and so we are re-launching today a platform on the Positive Practice website for new ideas and breakthrough technologies to be introduced and debated through encouraging a series of think pieces and blogs to be shared. One such area for discussion is the application of algorithms to our data in order to help predict and manage resource needs, as well as the risk of the exacerbation of any mental health problem or harm to patients.

The benefits to patients of better predictive analysis is obvious but equally there is a massive potential benefit for staff and organisations too.  Once a reliable risk assessment tool has been developed, this can be used to determine the appropriate level of professional care to match the identified risk. Thereby, boosting the ability of mental health services to meet the current NHS productivity and efficiency challenge.

Predictive analytics are being developed at a rapid pace in many sectors and they are now being utilised in health care. The sectors and conditions that have been pioneers in this and are now seeing early benefits are in screening and scanning diagnostics such as in breast cancer screening. But equally by interrogating and managing huge data bases of evidence and research, companies, such as IBM and Google Deep Mind, are pointing to the future of how to get the best evidence and information to the point of care for doctors and nurses providing all forms of care.

Critically they can now be applied in mental health services where patterns of previous service utilisation, behaviours, environmental factors, and interestingly, service user self-analysis can be brought together to help provide appropriate levels of care and improve resource management.

Otsuka Health Solutions (OHS), have been a long term valued partner of the Positive Practice Collaborative and indeed are behind a newly formed interest group looking at digital innovation in mental health services. They have developed arguably the first applied risk stratification and resource deployment tool that uses data sources to predict unplanned care in advance and to aid both service users and health professionals create safer lives and safer care.

OHS are successfully implementing their approach in a small number of NHS sites and have built working models and case studies to help roll this out to the NHS on a more extensive basis.

One such exciting opportunity is emerging as we speak at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trusts where the technology is supporting their move towards suicide prevention [through assisting with resource management to better plan patient care in this area]. This connects well to the trusts campaign for safer care and reductions in suicides across the country.

Here the partnership between OHS and the trust is not just using the data to inform an analysis of the present state but also to develop understanding of the trust’s previous patterns of behaviours and service utilisation in order to predict and manage the conditions for the future.

Many of the global leading healthcare organisations such as Stanford University and IBM Watsons health division are also working on the development of predictive analysis and risk management. Wouldn’t it be great to think the NHS could become an early adopter and that mental health services the earliest adopter within it?


Mike Farrar – Chair of the Positive Practice Collaborative and

Independent Management Consultant (Mike Farrar Consulting Ltd)


For further details of OHS’s work contact – cgadd@otsuka-europe.com

Or visit www.otsukahealthsolutions.com


If you would like to use the chance to produce a blog or short article about improving mental health services and innovation, then contact Angie or Tony on the following email address – breakthroughmh@hotmail.co.uk