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NHS North West London boosts analytics use during Covid-19 outbreak

A collaboration of NHS hospitals and health organisations in London is enhancing the use of data to improve their response to coronavirus

A collaboration of NHS hospitals and health organisations in London is enhancing the use of data analytics to improve their response to the coronavirus.

The North West London (NWL) partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups comprises of more than 30 NHS bodies that provide health and care services across eight boroughs in the capital.

The collaboration also has more than 400 GP practices, 10 hospitals, and four mental health and community health trusts, and is the largest sustainability and transformation partnership in the country, with data projects being an important part of the ongoing initiatives.

When Covid-19 struck, the NWL health and care partnership had the challenge of accelerating the use of the right data to ensure appropriate planning and utilisation of hospital resources. The collaboration also needed to get better visibility of infection and mortality rates among patients to prioritise critical care.

“North West London, especially our black and minority ethnic communities, have been hard hit by Covid-19, with Brent and Harrow being two of the three most affected boroughs in London,” said Kavitha Saravanakumar, deputy director of business intelligence and data management at North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups.

“Needless to say, effectively dealing with the impact of the crisis has been hugely challenging, and largely dependent on our capability to track the number of cases, monitor our hospital capacity, and ensure GPs are equipped to provide suitable aftercare,” Saravanakumar said.

The project scope

As part of efforts within the data space, NWL evolved its existing partnership with data management and visualisation specialist TrueCue, which offered 10 days of pro bono work to the NHS to enhance the collaboration’s response to the crisis with data.

The project entailed integrating existing hospital and patient data into six Whole Systems Integrated Care (WSIC) analytics dashboards. This supports NWL’s Covid-19 taskforce in tracking cases and hospital capacity and provides a broader view of demand to help planning and delivery of equipment and staff deployments, as well as key information relating to patients.

Given the evolving nature of the Covid-19 situation, multiple iterations and quick prototyping were needed to deliver the new dashboards, which are based on Tableau.

The project builds on other WSIC-related work TrueCue had been doing at NWL since 2013, including a cloud-based data warehouse relating to areas such as GP events, community visits and A&E admissions.

Delivery and benefits

For the most recent project, the supplier was tasked with delivering useful data based on the activity of existing and new sites dedicated to dealing with Covid-19 patients, as providers started to collect data on patients under their care.

The WSIC team collated the new information on Covid-19 care, then integrated additional datasets being provided by the hospitals into the existing data warehouse set-up. Information being added included test results and data from daily situation reports.

With the six additional WSIC dashboards, healthcare partners within NWL get better visibility of key performance indicators. These include a high-level overview of deceased patients, as well as those who are currently in hospital or have been discharged, with a geographic breakdown of Covid-19 cases across the NWL regions.

Hospital patient demographics are also delivered through the new dashboards, with information such as gender, age, ethnicity and long-term health conditions. An analysis of mortality rates across multiple demographics is also included.

In addition, hospital pathways are part of the scope of the new data analytics dashboards that have been developed. These analyse patient journeys through hospital wards and determine mortality rates based on specific pathways.

The dashboards also cover test results, with analyses of confirmed and negative cases based on pathology data.

When it comes to benefits so far of the additional data analytics work carried out, the collaboration was also able to reap the benefits of previous work relating to analytics. The existing data warehousing set-up allowed the enrichment of data with additional information such as demographics and pre-existing health conditions.

In addition, the integration of Covid-19 data into the WSIC enables visualisation of up-to-date infection and mortality rates across the population segment, enabling a better understanding of virus susceptibility across these populations.

Beyond better hospital planning of resources based on demand, NWL GPs can also see which patients were infected by the coronavirus, with that information helping to plan aftercare.

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