Expertise at hand with an embedded consultant

Ben Jones from Dr Foster has been working as the dedicated Business Insight Manager to help the trust meet its objectives. “The trust also wanted to improve the way data was shared across the trust and at the same time get a better understanding of its performance in relation to peers,” he says. “We wanted to be on hand to provide data as and when needed, but also help identify growth opportunities.”

Putting data into action

Ruth Holland is Deputy Chief Information Officer at the trust. Ruth feels strongly that clinicians should be engaging with data and believes a single point of information is the way to do this. A Qlik business intelligence portal has been developed with Ben providing the data and also helping to create data visualisations. “Ben leads on taking data and putting into our own internal format so reports can be easily understood by executive colleagues. This analysis is used at the most senior levels of the organisation,” she says. As for benchmarking, Ruth explains that although the trust has access to good analysts, it wasn’t benchmarking itself against trusts on a national level and other members of the Shelford Group (the ten-member NHS multi-specialty academic healthcare organisations). “National benchmarking is possible, but you have to do a lot of work with the data yourselves. With Dr Foster tools the data is easy to access and we can make sure we are keeping pace with other high-performing organisations. Having a Dr Foster analyst on site has been very successful.” “Dr Foster understands what our objectives are and is able to carry out complex analysis on our behalf. It is a fast track way of getting good benchmarking. For example, our performance framework has over 100 different metrics. The Dr Foster tools are useful looking across the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) area to understand what is happening with indicators such as length of stay.” In addition to benchmarking, Dr Foster data has been used to identify services where there is a growth opportunity and where potential new services could be offered. In order to develop this focus on growth the trust now integrates a direct Dr Foster data output feed into the QlikView visualisation tool. This gives access to market share data within the central system quickly and easily helping a wide range of staff understand patterns and identify opportunities. Detailed reports have been provided on surgery, cancer and the cardiovascular division. The reports have been well received and highlight market size, market share and information on referral patterns from GP practices. “The market share analysis requires an understanding of each specialty – how productive it is and whether it is financially viable. There were a number of performance and safety metrics which fed into this analysis and as a result the clinical leads were very engaged.” Dr Foster data has also been integrated into strategic planning and service redesign. As part of North West London’s Shaping a Healthier Future, Dr Foster’s analytic support has helped the trust in service redesign work, for example in integrating services previously provided by Ealing Hospital.

Benefits of working with Dr Foster

  • Large volumes of data can be analysed and incorporated into the trust’s business intelligence platform
  • Clinicians have become more engaged with the data which is easily accessible and easy to understand
  • Data analysis has been used to benchmark performance and highlight areas for growth
  • An embedded Business Insight Manager is on hand to help with bespoke, fast-track requests
  • Dr Foster has a good understanding of the trust’s objectives and how data can play a part in meeting them