+44 (0) 20 3879 7879

How BetterPoints can spot population health risks before they become a problem

How BetterPoints can spot population health risks before they become a problem

Population health management is about predicting future health needs and intervening before someone becomes a ‘patient’. Data is useful but it is important to remember that each data point is a person, and that we need to talk to people to understand the reality of their situation.

That was a key theme at the recent NHS Population Health Conference; research is helpful, but the reality may be something else.

It was widely held that if we continue to focus on acute care, the system will still be overstretched in 10 years’ time. So, how can we identify future-risk cohorts and prevent issues becoming acute in the first place?

Can it be done through small, fast-paced research projects that are part of an improvement cycle?

Hannah McCarthy, chief behavioural scientist at BetterPoints, told delegates that yes, it can – by combining people’s health data with their own testimonies and dynamically adapting interventions.

Hannah explained how BetterPoints programmes are complex behaviour change interventions that integrate with community stakeholders and use targeted communications campaigns to engage people. They then incentivise people who do not normally seek help to make positive lifestyle choices and engage with services early on.

Data shared by participants about their activity helps us to understand who may be at risk. We can then ask them directly about their barriers to changing risky behaviours and adapt our approach accordingly. We can iterate this process continually to fine-tune our understanding of health barriers and the mechanisms needed to prevent health risks becoming a problem.

Hannah used the example of Hounslow in London. A behaviour change programme for London Borough of Hounslow identified people who were inactive and fell into a ‘Want to but Can’t group (people who had aspirations to be more active but were not seeing them through for one reason or another).

After 12 months, around a third of them had developed healthy activity levels of 150 minutes per week.

The remaining two-thirds were then asked what prevented them from becoming more active.

That information, said Hannah, is now being used to further personalise the incentives and communications, and to study change in this cohort over time. 

A large number of delegates asked for more information about BetterPoints’ behaviour change work. Drop us a line if you too would like to know more.

BetterPoints has helped thousands of people improve their health and wellbeing. Find out how our programmes can support population health interventions and social prescribing.

Drop us a line!

Get in touch Join our mailing list