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Using data to prevent future deaths

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Tuesday, 21st February 2017

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a round table event to discuss the implementation of our new Risk Profile Report for drug related poisoning.

Launched in the summer of 2016, this data tool enables services to proactively identify which service users have risk factors known to increase risk of death from fatal overdose, with data points from our CRiiS case management system being used to support the analysis.

The feedback was immensely positive with numerous examples of the report now embedded into practice. Team meetings, complex case panels, supervisions, and risk pods were a selection of the settings used by services to analyse the report, prioritise, and agree actions.

This is very much the start of the project and the group provided other feedback to inform a new and improved version 2 of the report which we are planning now. Even during the relatively short time the report been used, additional information has been added to support better decision making, this includes the offer and distribution of naloxone. Further data points that will capture dynamic risk more accurately and provide more specific information will be added as we explore the research further.

Whilst anecdotal evidence has been powerful we are keen to understand its real impact and efficacy, with a research proposal in the pipeline to support this.

We are sharing our practices and the use of data with colleagues as part of a work stream to support the reduction of drug related deaths led by Collective Voice and Public Health England.

There were some key factors which enabled the development, implementation, and use of the tool which are worth reflecting on:

  • It's easy to use. It takes a click of a button to run. People liked this.
  • There are no additional data burdens. The data was already there. People liked this more.
  • We worked with our in-house development team to produce the report using our case management system; familiar and accessible to our services.
  • We collaborated with research experts. We work closely with the University of Manchester and Dr Tim Millar.
  • We supplemented the evidence with our clinical expertise to provide weightings to the risk factors, reviewing these regularly.
  • We made use of our web conferencing tools to demonstrate to services, in a short space of time with no expensive train journeys required.
  • We worked with services to understand barriers, refine the report, and communicate changes.

As an organisation we recognise the critical importance of timely and accurate recording of service user data and information and it is imperative that we take every opportunity to make best use of the data at our disposal.

We are all aware of the record levels of drug related deaths in England and Wales as reported by the Office for National Statistics last year. But we are uniquely placed as a provider of substance misuse services in England and Wales with the largest single integrated system of information to be innovative and look for insights which help keep our service users safe and maximise their outcomes.

We will not lose sight of that focus.

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