This August, NHS England released a new specification for System Co-ordination Centres (previously System Control Centres) that called for three expected outcomes:
- 1. Enhance operational visibility of capacity and flow.
- 2. Enable real-time co-ordination.
- 3. Improve clinical outcomes.
The specification is a significant step in the right direction to help ICBs, particularly with managing winter pressures. But without the right technology in place, it may not go far enough.
Choosing an SCC solution powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an opportunity for ICBs to take a leading role in tackling challenges like elective waiting list times, ambulance delays, and seasonal pressures. But also to future-proof operations over and above the SCC specification.
Here are three reasons why.
1. Get a holistic view of capacity across your system
The first expected outcome of the SCC specification is to have ‘an aligned view of the operational pressures and risks across system providers.’
It’s no secret that healthcare providers can end up working in silos rather than in a single joined-up system if they don’t have visibility of incoming pressures. Even with robust planning, optimising individual care organisations without a reliable view of the bigger picture can feel like throwing darts in the dark.
An intelligent SCC offers the chance to break down existing silos in your system. Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) ICS took this approach with its Intelligent Care Traffic Control Centre that launched in April.
By pulling data from ambulance services, NHS 111, social care, acute providers, virtual wards, GPs and mental health providers, the BNSSG team now have real-time visibility of capacity. This AI-powered solution offers a comprehensive, holistic view of all care providers in the system, helping BNSSG ensure all its providers are working in tandem to reduce operational pressures.
But using this data to predict what will happen in the future is where things start to get really interesting.
2. Predict and prepare for future challenges
The second expected outcome of the SCC specification calls for ‘real-time coordination of capacity and action.’ More specifically, your SCC should be able to help ‘identify predictable and emergent activity to support forward planning.’
To date, NHS organisations have had to rely on historical data to predict future capacity and demand. But in an increasingly unpredictable healthcare landscape, where volatility has become the norm, using last week’s data to anticipate next week’s needs simply won’t cut it.
Getting ahead of capacity demand requires a shift from a reactive to a proactive stance; to be able to respond to current flashpoints and predict future challenges. It’s here where AI can be a vital ally in breaking the cycle of reacting to demand.
BNSSG’s new Intelligent Care Trafic Control Centre allows staff to be proactive. Advanced AI models powering the solution give staff a clear heads up of when and where capacity pressures are most likely to occur, optimising patient flow and making forward planning predictable and effective.
In this way, an AI-powered SCC can identify the trends and patterns in your historical data to flag potential capacity bottlenecks before they happen.
3. Simulate the impact of your system changes
The final expected outcome of the SCC specification calls for ‘a suite of operational metrics in real time to enable [the SCC] to provide a timely response at a system level, assisting local providers to deliver the right care at the right time.’
Status dashboards are commonplace in healthcare today. But they only offer a snapshot of what has already happened with little to no actionable insights.
Your healthcare data is only valuable when it empowers your clinical and admin staff to make better decisions in real-time. And an AI-powered solution can play a pivotal role here through advanced simulation capabilities.
By connecting data from across your system, AI-powered simulations can show the consequences of your teams’ decisions before they are made. Running these real-time scenarios will help staff understand how adjustments in specific areas will affect the broader healthcare system.
With a clear view of the knock-on effects of every decision, simulations can help your staff to optimise every major decision. And ultimately provide the system-level timely responses called for by the new specifications.
Seizing the intelligent SCC opportunity
The August 2023 SCC specifications present a significant opportunity. By embracing the capabilities of AI, your ICB can not only meet the SCC specification, but take a proactive role in alleviating staff pressures, boosting patient satisfaction, and cutting costs.
Frontier, Faculty’s operational AI solution for the NHS, is already trusted by leading NHS providers like BNSSG to deliver above and beyond their current SCC requirements.
Only an AI-powered SCC can offer the ability to provide a holistic view of capacity, predict and prepare for future challenges, and simulate the impact of system changes before they’re made.
Moving beyond historical data alone is key to getting off the treadmill of battling seasonal pressures. By harnessing the power of an AI-driven solution you can ensure your ICB is ready to predict and face whatever challenges lie ahead. This winter, and every winter to come.
How could your ICB benefit from an AI-powered SCC that can simulate system changes before they’re made and optimise patient care? Let’s start a conversation.