NHS demand management insight through spatial health analytics


With the election build up in full swing, the NHS is again a key ‘battleground’ for Political Party’s to debate and set pledges over.  Perhaps more importantly than the politics surrounding it, is that the NHS needs support.

You will have seen the daily media attention such as NHS hospital waiting time figures that are the worst in seven years.  Whilst many news headlines focus on England, the same issues face Scotland and Wales - this is a national challenge.

Yes, the NHS has some challenges to overcome.  The NHS needs to change how it approaches health care, and this is outlined by Simon Stevens’ recent Five Year Forward View strategy for NHS England.  The strategy recognises that whilst the world we live in has changed, the NHS hasn’t adapted fast enough, and hence the resulting struggle to meet increasing demand, long term conditions, and an increasingly elderly population.

A better understanding of demand and service provision is required

The vision includes a more integrated healthcare system which collaborates with community providers to offer the appropriate care in the appropriate place.  There is a need to change how the NHS provides services, and this will require a better understanding of demand and service provision, now and in the future.


The Esri Health Platform supports service re-design and transformational change by using information to inform insight through a deep understanding of the populations being serviced, both now and in the future. This takes into account data on e.g. attendances and admittances, population and long term condition situations, demographics, deprivation, forecasting and presentation in a meaningful and informative way, to the appropriate end user at the appropriate time.

This is not just big data, this is massive data

My view is that data is good, information is better, and insight is powerful.  It has been said that the NHS is data rich, but information poor.  For example, the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data alone contains over 125 million admitted patient, outpatient and accident and emergency records each year.  This is not just big data, this is massive data, and I do not believe the data available is being used to its maximum potential by the NHS, whether for commissioning (e.g. CCG, CSU) or service delivery (Hospital, Ambulance Service).  

The Esri Health Platform can be used to manipulate a range of Health Models to support insight.

Paul Scott from the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has found that the Esri Health Platform provides “a whole new platform for discussion and changed the conversation at board level to focus on moving to a more sophisticated way of visualising and reporting data”

With a focus on patient outcomes and quality of care, there is a need to improve clinical outcomes whilst ensuring effective spend.  The Esri Health Platform is a business intelligence tool which, coupled with use of big data and actuarial analysis, provides: 

•Operational insight – what and where is demand currently?

•Strategic planning insight – what and where is demand likely to be?

•Transformational change option assessment – what can I do and what impacts?

•Use of ‘big data’ to create information and develop robust insight

•Actuarial analysis of care pathways, and links to long termfinancial plans

Greater insight to support robust evidence based decision making


The ability to analyse your operational data (attendances, admittances, prescribing) by hospital, GP Surgery or CCG, combined with contextual data (demographic, deprivation, etc), allows a greater insight to support robust evidence based decision making.  The Platform allows you to undertake a range of analysis and visualisation, including: hotspots of activity, illness or prescribing; drive time and service area analysis, real-time tracking, patient flow analysis, service redesign, reporting dashboards for KPI and performance monitoring and reporting. This insight can then be presented to colleagues, partners or the public via a series of web maps, applications and dashboards – all configurable to with the end user in mind.


The NHS has undergone a significant change in the recent couple of years, and the Five Year Forward View outlines wide ranging and ongoing change going forward, with a series of service reconfiguration proposals. The decisions required to asses, option test and implement change need to be based on robust insight, utilising innovative approaches coupled with understanding and effective use of data.

Designing better integrated healthcare services means gaining a better understanding of the community, in operational terms so as to instigate interventions now, and strategic analysis and option assessment to plan for future services.  Processes and outputs need to be transparent, collaborative and informative. This influences and effects commissioning and service delivery.

To find out more about how the Esri Health Platform can support your decision making, watch the following videos from a recent webinar or contact us for further information - health@esriuk.com.