Addressing the increased demand in healthcare

Capita healthcare

With the current increased demand within health and care, it is vitality important for providers to recover from the pandemic and address the challenges faced around growing elective care backlogs, staffing pressures and rising costs.

Addressing these challenges requires industry leaders to come together and adopt value-adding solutions and technology.

In November 2021, Capita Healthcare Decisions announced a partnership with Microsoft, integrating our clinical content into the Azure Health Bot, part of Microsoft’s Health Cloud platform. The key purpose around this has been to address the patient backlogs faced and improving the patient experience through the use of new technology.

How does it work?

Capita Healthcare Decisions’ content on Health Bot uses AI to pre-empt a wide variety of patient conditions and emergencies, with 164 symptom-based algorithms and over 40 scenarios ranging from ‘call an ambulance’ to ‘self-care’. The content is customisable and adaptable, with 500 sets of care instructions, including appropriate medical information and guidance on what to do if symptoms worsen.

Health Bot users can now gain access to Capita Healthcare Decisions’ content, meaning providers have access to the evidence-based healthcare content service. Saving the patient time is a goal of the collaboration and simple everyday language is used in the place of clinical and medical terminology – delivering a more user-centric approach and promoting ease of understanding.

The service aims to give users flexibility through access to information on different devices and channels, enabling a swift referral to appropriate care. Health Bot also aims to reduce the risk to patients of ‘self-triage’ – when a person evaluates their own health concerns to determine what they should do next.

What makes the clinical content unique?

Capita Healthcare Decisions produces content which is peer-reviewed and updated by an internal team of doctors and nurses to ensure robust clinical governance.

The Health Bot is available through Microsoft’s Cloud for Healthcare, a platform that provides the structure which supports health information and patient management across healthcare organisations and health providers, both public and private. The service provides AI-powered medical data which is used by some of the largest healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and tele-medicine services in the world.

How will this help?

Steve Fearon, CEO of Capita Health Decisions, said: “We are proud and excited that our relationship with Microsoft continues to grow and strengthen. With this collaboration of our world-leading clinical content, available within the Microsoft health ecosystem, we have recognised the need to provide instant access to safe and accurate medical and peer reviewed content to support positive health outcomes. We are seeing just how vital the need for this offering has become, especially at a time of growing misinformation online.

“We see this collaboration as a great opportunity for organisations to completely transform and revolutionise access to healthcare, levelling the playing field in terms of equity in access to the most up to date health guidance, and ensuring that health resources are optimised to drive clinical and operational efficiency and effectiveness.”

Hadas Bitran, Partner Group Manager at Microsoft Health and Life Sciences, said: “Capita’s content is a valuable asset in the Health Bot service that empowers healthcare organisations to assist in triaging and directing patients to the appropriate level of care and to navigate the services available to them. Timely access to quality medical information saves lives; and deepening our relationship with Capita will further strengthen the patient-centric approach that is fundamental to our Health Bot service.”

Capita Healthcare Decisions have been at the forefront of tackling the challenges within healthcare systems for over 27 years. To find out more, visit:

Capita, News

Broader partnerships within ICS essential to reduce hospital admissions


As Integrated Care Systems assume statutory footing from July, broad partnerships with the private and voluntary sectors will be essential to reduce pressure on acute NHS services, writes Charles Waddicor.

The NHS is working through one of the greatest challenges it has ever faced. With the pandemic still part of everyday life, there is an urgent need to reduce the constant pressure on the acute sector. Future plans must be based on a coordinated approach that makes the most of a wide range of partners, including the voluntary sector.

Up to seven million people are thought to have missed out on care during the pandemic, many from more deprived areas. The health system is still in a critical condition, with high rates of Covid-19, hospitalisations and waiting times rising. This perfect storm is ultimately widening the health inequalities that have come into even sharper focus during the pandemic.

The challenge is too great to leave up to the acute sector alone to solve. Every part of the health and care sector has a role to play, from primary and social care to councils, housing and the voluntary sector. The solution must lie in greater collaboration to unlock capacity and avoid preventable admissions.

Managing population health

Although the current ‘Payment by Results’ system does not always lend itself to more integrated system working, integrated care systems (ICSs) can provide an opportunity to broaden partnerships and collaboration, to help pave the way for change.

There is a case for developing health and care services that wrap around traditional care models, promoting healthier living, tackling loneliness and other areas that can impact on hospital admission. The mental health sector is already leading the way by working with other providers and some London trusts are investing £1 million annually in new contracts with the voluntary sector to strengthen support in the community.

Worcestershire County Council has also been working with the local NHS Commissioning Group and the voluntary sector since 2015, to tackle hospital admissions by providing personalised support to older people to deal with loneliness. Social isolation and loneliness reduce older people’s quality of life and are linked to poor physical and mental health outcomes.

Over five years, the reconnections service in Worcestershire supported more than 1,500 lonely older people with a majority reporting a marked reduction in their feelings of loneliness and others seeing increased independence and improvements in health and wellbeing. Once the model was shown to be successful, the service developed a relationship with Independent Age, a leading national older people’s charity, which had the resources and capability to scale up the work. The scheme has now been rolled out to two other sites – Barking & Dagenham and Havering and Guildford and Waverley.

Supporting the whole health system with greater range of partnerships

“Seeing healthcare with a broader view rather than simply through the lens of an acute hospital, can help to provide a more proactive health service”

ICSs cover larger populations than individual CCGs which means they have an opportunity to link up with a broader range of organisations. Rather than pushing back on acute trusts to accommodate a growing need for services, let us work with other non-NHS partners to support the system.

Seeing healthcare with a broader view rather than simply through the lens of an acute hospital, can help to provide a more proactive health service and avoid more hospital admissions through good population health management. Being able to target those who need care before they reach the acute stage is vital, as is proactively creating a healthier population through promotion and education.

Organisations in the voluntary sector can offer an in-depth knowledge of the communities within which they work, highlighting where and what care is needed as well as being able to increase the capacity of the health and social care system.

While quality and money are always likely to be top of the agenda for improvements to the health service, we know that people who are well-integrated into the community, who exercise and are careful with what they eat, generally do better. Therefore, promoting healthier lifestyles through a range of organisations and working in a truly integrated way will introduce good population health techniques, helping people to live independently for longer and reducing the significant pressures that are being felt across the whole system.

About Capita Healthcare Decisions

Capita Healthcare Decisions have been at the forefront of tackling the challenges within healthcare systems for over 27 years. Having served over 100 million patient interactions globally to date, we empower healthcare providers and payers to make the right decisions, driving better quality of care, improving efficiencies, and reducing operational cost at scale.