Optimising geographical coverage with location intelligence

We were recently approached by a private ambulance provider to help them optimise their base locations. These patient transport specialists offer services covering short and long-distance relocations, and in-patient appointments, offering a complete 24/7 service for their clients. They already have a proven track record working with NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and private healthcare groups, so it was a pleasure to combine our specialties to try and determine how best to geographically cover the UK.

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The challenge:

Our client was looking to expand their operations across the UK and wanted to identify the optimal locations to set up future bases. They also had data for around 3000 historical patient transfers and asked for our help in analysing the location and volume of these historical cases. Crucially they had to be able to demonstrate they could maintain existing service levels to their present client base of NHS Trusts, CCGs and private healthcare groups.

The solution:

For the analysis on location and volume of historic cases we turned to our TimeTravel journey time and distance data. We ran a batch calculation on the A-B drivetimes for each appointment and then created a map analysis of these appointments split by 1½, 2, and 2½ hour journey time radii. This analysis was then used to shortlist potential sites for a central service centre.

The analysis was shared with the client using our MapVision web-based tool which allowed them to explore and analyse the data further. MapVision can work to most administrative boundaries including CCGs and even Ambulance Service Boundaries, allowing it to cross-reference population data with the healthcare infrastructure. Surprisingly, the analysis found that the response time from single sites would often be too great for a particular area and thus second sites would often be needed to offer the best possible service level for a given area.

Another unique benefit of MapVision is that the data can be presented in multiple ways to suit the specific criteria. Maps can be produced as web-resolution images for inclusion digitally, printed off at a higher resolution and included with a physical tender submission, or the supporting data can be extracted as a spreadsheet with the analysis data appended to show your workings.

Our client wanted to demonstrate their strong national presence to the NHS Trusts. To do this, we helped them to produce a national catchment map illustrating that almost all the country could be reached in under 4 hours using their new base infrastructure. This allowed them to show the advantage they would have over competitors when it came to long-distance hospital transfers. To help emphasize this, MapVision could then use its ‘Territories’ functions to show just how many households, people, or adults could be served by our client’s impressive network.

The result:

Our work was very successful for our client, and they are now the chosen supplier in several NHS Trust territories. It seems that the decision to offer a service from more than one location for a given area has been key to securing work – a decision that was driven directly by geographic analysis.

In addition to this growth of their network, our client has approached us to gauge the total size of the UK market in their field. To do this, they can use their existing data and model it across other NHS Trust and CCG areas. They can also apply a demographic model of their users across the UK, and use it to identify hot spots of potential demand and begin to tailor their network to address this future demand. We look forward to continuing our work with them to further plan and refine their expansion across the UK.

Beacon Dodsworth provided us with a number of mapping tools to help us identify the best locations from which to base our operations. The work we undertook was crucial in helping us build a clear picture of demand across the territory and ensure we could meet specified NHS response times. We look forward to working with Beacon Dodsworth in the future

Company Chairman



SIngle vs dual site cluster and drive time analysis

Above: A cluster analysis of previous service users, combined with drive time analysis, illustrates the service improvement of using two service centres rather than one.


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