Research to look at improving patient experience in mental health service provision

The University of South Wales has been awarded £32,420 from The Health Foundation to investigate mental health services in the community.

Working in collaboration with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the NHS Wales Modelling Collaborative, the university says the five month project will examine the different pathways experienced by patients in mental health services and explore the impact on patients of a recent change to the service model.

Principal investigator Dr Penny Holborn, a data scientist whose expertise lies in applying analytical techniques to solve real world problems, said “In recent years, new models of providing mental health services in the community have been developed. While these have increased the overall service capacity, they have not streamlined the pathway or improved the flow to a degree that a patient’s needs are met in the most effective way. The result is that we are still seeing delays and potentially wasted capacity.”

Professor Paul Roach said “We are very excited to get started. This project allows us to engage with healthcare providers here in Wales at a time when they are under considerable pressure, and that pressure is likely only to increase as a result of the current pandemic. It offers real potential for improvements to patient experience and for freeing up capacity in an already over-subscribed service.

Study findings will be used by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, NHS Wales Modelling Collaborative and other health boards across Wales who are seeking to develop community mental health services, as well as with other healthcare and academic audiences to share good practice and raise awareness of service enhancement tools.

The research will:

  • Analyse mental health referral, assessment and outcome historic data collected by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
  • Use visualisation tools to highlight the variation that is experienced by patients
  • Use pathway mining methodology to cluster alike pathways together to identify opportunities to improve efficiency of processes and effectiveness of service delivery
  • Deliver a generic tool that could then be used or altered easily so that other NHS Wales Health Boards could also carry out this analysis

This project is part of the wider project “Promoting joint analytical problem solving, building on the Welsh Modelling Collaborative”, which is part of the Health Foundation’s Building Capability programme. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

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