Research summary
17 Nov 2011
Following the Government's decision not to upgrade existing predictive risk models, this guide aims to help commissioners now tasked with choosing risk tools from an open market.


Predictive risk models are an important part of the strategy for managing patients with chronic illness. They are used to identify patients most at risk of future unplanned hospital admissions, and who may benefit from preventive measures such as that provided by community matrons, or through admission to a community-based ‘virtual ward’.

Such cutting-edge statistical methods have been found to be more accurate at predicting who is most likely to be admitted than other ‘case finding’ approaches including threshold models and clinical opinion.

Despite this, in August 2011 the Department of Health announced that it would not be commissioning a national upgrade of existing predictive modelling tools used by the NHS, such as the Patients at Risk of Re-hospitalisation tool (PARR++) or the Combined Predictive Model (CPM). Instead, the current policy promotes an ‘open market’ in terms of suppliers of risk tools, making it unclear whether in future predictive models in England should best be procured or built at a local, regional or national level.