Classifying outpatient visits by function


Lead Analyst

Andrew Jones

Produced for the Midlands Decision Support Network by the Strategy Unit

Planned completion date

October 2021
90% complete

This project will develop an algorithm to classify outpatient activity by its function; for example diagnosis, management of a long-term condition, surgical intervention, pre-operative assessment, postoperative review, urgent investigation. It will use the algorithm to quantify the relative scale of activity of each type across STPs, hospitals, and by clinical specialty to support service redesign.

The outputs will include a full documentation of the rules used for our classification scheme to enable other researchers and analysts to review and apply it to new datasets. All code will be published on GitHub and accessible to MDSN members and we will run a workshop for MDSN analysts to explain the methods and code.

What do we know?

Outpatient care accounts for about 30% of hospital spending.

There are substantial opportunities to rethink delivery. These are usually described in terms of clinical specialty rather than objective/function. It is felt that by looking at the function of the appointments there will be opportunities to think creatively about service redesign.

What questions might this project address?

The project will include an evidence review of published literature relating to functions of outpatient care and classification schemes for outpatient activity. It will develop and test algorithms and quantify the relative scale of activity of each type across systems, hospitals, and by clinical specialty.  

How might this analysis be used to improve health outcomes or service delivery?

The outputs from the project will inform plans for transforming outpatient care by recategorising current activity and considering the implications for redesign options 

Get Involved

We will run a workshop for Midlands Decision Support Network analysts to explain the methods and code.

All code will be published on GitHub and accessible to MDSN members. The algorithm may evolve according to feedback from the wider community.

For further information about this work, please email Andrew Jones

Email Andrew Jones

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