Midlands-based Integrated Care Board (ICB) digitises its Personal Health Budget process

A Midlands-based Integrated Care Board (ICB) previously relied on spreadsheets to calculate estimated Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) for Adult Continuing Healthcare and Children’s Continuing Care. This method was not always equitable or reflective of an individual’s needs, especially if the needs were complex. Using Imosphere’s Personal Health Budget tool, they digitised their process to enable them to provide indicative sums that are fair, consistent, and based on assessed needs.


The ICB that adopted Imosphere’s Personal Health Budget tools manages health services for almost half a million people living in the Midlands and is responsible for planning and managing health and care services for residents. Each year it commissions health services worth approximately £451million for people in their local area and works with its partners to address health inequalities.

Calculating estimated PHBs

Since their introduction in 2014, PHBs have been an important way to give people more choice and control over the services and care they receive. There is considerable emphasis for ICBs to deliver sustainable PHB programmes. The Midlands-based ICB began reviewing its existing policies and processes in 2015.

The ICB previously used a spreadsheet-based model for indicative budget setting in relation to PHBs. The reliance on spreadsheets was not efficient, and the PHB Delivery Officers also found this method was not always equitable or reflective of an individual’s needs.

A PHB Delivery Officer within their Commissioning Support Unit explains:

“Budgets were calculated against an agency rate and based too heavily on Decision Support Tool Outcomes. Where an individual’s needs were complex, the model didn’t always produce sufficient funds to be able to support the level of care that individual would need. We couldn’t build a holistic picture of a patient’s needs and there wasn’t any consideration of support from family, friends, and volunteers.”

Using technology to drive improvements

To increase consistency, deliver positive outcomes, and ensure needs are met, the ICB invested in Imosphere’s Personal Health Budget tool. The Cloud-based system allows the ICB to accurately calculate indicative PHBs for Continuing Healthcare and Continuing Care. They went live with the Personal Health Budget tool in January 2016 and it is now being used by all the nurses in Continuing Healthcare and Continuing Care, as well as within their local NHS Commissioning Support Unit.

Consistent and transparent indicative budgets

The single, digital system enables the team to work efficiently to create and administer PHBs. It supports the ICB’s PHB approach, and the algorithm provides a consistent way to estimate budgets, regardless of who is providing the funding.

There are separate individual tools for children and young people (Continuing Care) and adults (Continuing Healthcare). Both are on the same cloud-based platform, supporting a smooth and clear transition between services.

“The Imosphere PHB tool gives us greater transparency and consistency. It takes the whole individual, including their family, needs and outcomes into account and gives us a clear and simple way to estimate PHBs. When we talk to individuals about their PHB we’re able to explain the assessment process we’ve taken to arrive at the estimated sum. It’s a fair, evidence-based and defensible approach,” adds their PHB Delivery Officer.

The Imosphere PHB tool provides the ICB with an accurate and reliable indicative sum of money based on assessed need and this gives a strong basis for personalised planning. As for residents, they have more choice and control over how they meet their health, care, and well-being needs, now and in the future.

Partnering with Imosphere

“The support from Imosphere has been very good and the team have been really helpful. They have listened to our suggestions, continuously built and developed the tool and always provided us with ongoing support and advice,” concludes the PHB Delivery Officer.

The results

  • Provided the ICB with an accurate, sustainable and defensible method for estimating Personal Health Budgets.

  • The evidence-based approach is clear and transparent, delivering a reliable indicative sum of money based on assessed need.

  • The PHB tool promotes consistency and sustainability, minimising variation in provision for individuals with the same needs.

  • A reliable and defensible solution that enables confident decision-making.

  • Enables financial and budgetary planning and control, reducing the likelihood of challenges.