Bromley CCG has enlisted the help of risk stratification software to reduce hospital admission rates among its elderly population.
United Health's RISC tool allows Bromley CCG's 49 participating practices to interrogate patient data to identify those patients at a heightened risk of their long-term condition escalating.
Bromley CCG was spurred on to make use of the technology by its high elderly population – 16% of its 300,000 patient population is over the age of 65.
"We have the highest elderly population in London, which means we are going to have many more patients with long term conditions, leaving them vulnerable to being admitted to hospital," said Dr Andrew Parsons, Chair of Bromley CCG.
"As such, we want to move from crisis aversion to a more preventative way of working where we are spotting problems earlier.
"Risk stratification software is helping us to do this."
Samantha Merridale, Interim Head of Strategy, Planning and QIPP at Bromley Clinical Commissioning, told Management in Practice the costs of implementation and any estimated savings are still being "worked out".
She was unable to confirm whether Bromley CCG would continue the tool if its license agreement terms and conditions were to change, nor the estimated savings it is likely to bring about.
"It is very difficult to predict what kind of savings we can achieve through using risk stratification – it is like asking how long is a piece of string," she said.
"We haven't thought about quantifying the estimated savings but should see a reduction in unplanned hospital admissions among our elderly patients through the scheme."
Dr Parsons said over the next 12 months practices will be tasked with developing effective interventions for the groups of patients identified by RISC as at risk of an emergency hospital admission.
The RISC tool is one aspect of Bromley CCG's three-year long ProMISE programme (Proactive Management and Integrated Services for the Elderly), which is currently in its pilot phase.
The scheme aims to create a joined up approach among community and secondary care providers to build a network of care to help patients moving into an "intensive phase" of treatment.
Dr Luke Twelves, Director of Clinical Commissioning at United Health, confirmed the CCG has been using its RISC software for seven months and said it has been "well received" by GPs in the area.
"The technology has gone through a tipping point whereby people have begun to see its benefits," he said.
"We are receiving inquiries about the software on a very regular basis."
By Louise Naughton