23 May 2017
Diagnosis of dementia is a national priority in the UK. The current national target is for 66% of people with underlying dementia to have a confirmed diagnosis. Most these diagnoses occur in an NHS memory clinic. The government has set a target of 6 weeks from referral by a GP to diagnosis. It is currently unclear how achievable this target is, given the current resources within the dementia diagnosis process. For example, are there enough memory clinic appointments available and is there enough space at hospitals for detailed investigations.
The data science hub has been working with NHS England to develop a computer based model of dementia diagnosis in Wessex. The model allows managers in the NHS to explore if their memory clinic service will meet the 6-week target for diagnosing patients. The model is a bit like a map of a road network. It allows the managers to see where ‘traffic jams’ build up and slow down progress of diagnosis. This helps managers decide where extra road capacity needs to be built to speed things up and ultimately meet the 6-week target.
The work is being done by Dr Rudabeh Meskarian from the Data Science team