South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust has implemented a business intelligence system to improve its monitoring of performance levels and ensure future funding.
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Hospital funding has begun moving to a scheme called Payment By Results, under which the government pays per procedure rather than basing funding on service levels.
South Tyneside said its business intelligence roll-out should ensure that it is properly funded when the payments scheme goes live in April 2007.
Martin Alexander, head of IS at the trust, said, “Information governance is really important so that we can claim the correct income. Previously we had a relatively guaranteed income; now it is relatively uncertain.”
Using Cognos tools, hospital business analysts can draw information from the Oracle-based patient administration system and Excel spreadsheets into “data cubes”, which can be manipulated and visualised in various ways to assess the hospital’s performance.
Understanding how the hospital is performing is essential for allocating medical resources efficiently and keeping waiting lists down, Alexander said. “With the agenda for patient choice, it is really important how long your waiting lists are from day to day. At our trust, no one waits for more than 13 weeks. We have a target of getting that down to eight weeks,” he said.
In addition, because the Cognos reports can be distributed via the web, staff can get hold of them more easily, Alexander said.