Gateshead NHS Trust uses data visualisation to boost performance

Trust is using the Medway BI system provided by System C to enhance clinical, operational and financial performance

Gateshead NHS Trust has added data visualisation to its business intelligence system to improve clinical, operational and financial performance.

The visualisations come from Yellowfin, and are part of the Medway BI system provided by System C, a health and social care software supplier the trust has been working with for four years.

Rob Allcock, clinical CIO and consultant chest physician at Gateshead, said the trust is using Medway BI data visualisation to help with problem-solving and create a culture of continuous improvement.

“This approach enables us to use live information to improve the performance of the trust,” he said in a statement. “By publishing visually engaging information to clinicians and ward teams, we highlight the areas with the best performance, help teams understand how to be as good as the best, and empower clinicians to make changes. 

“With live information, it becomes easy for clinical teams to see which changes produce improvement. By just shining a light on the things that matter, we improve safety, reduce delays, improve patient experience and reduce costs.”

David Thompson, information and development manager at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said that at the end of 2014, his BI team was looking to put in place a “single source of the truth” and worked in partnership with System C to do that.

They already had IBM Cognos, Qlik, Microsoft Reporting Services and a heavy use of Excel at play in the trust, but were impressed by a System C demonstration of Yellowfin data visualisation software. Microsoft Reporting Services had already replaced a lot of the reporting in Cognos, said Thompson.

“We had been using BI on a [SQL Server 2008 R2] data warehouse for some time,” he said. “But we still did not have what we wanted – a single source of the truth, so people know where to go for the information they need.

“It makes skills and training simpler if you have one environment.

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“It also changes the concept of how people consume information within the trust, so it is not just a matter of the information services team pushing out reports. The self-service and visual appeal aspects are very good. It is visible on the wards and in the A&E department.”

The team explored QlikView and reconsidered Cognos, but considered both too expensive, said Thompson. “But our ultimate decision to choose Yellowfin was about functionality – cost was not the main driver,” he added.

Yellowfin first partnered with System C in 2015, according to the BI visualisation software supplier.

Since starting to use Yellowfin software, as embedded in the Medway BI system, in November 2015, Gateshead has found it beneficial, said Thompson.

In a recent 30-day period, it achieved an increase from 45% of patients having discharge information, with clinical input, sent to their GP within 24 hours, to 68% of discharges sent within 12 hours.

It is also helping with planning patient discharge, reducing the amount of time patients spend in hospital unnecessarily, said Thompson.

Dashboards and reports in use at Gateshead include: “live hospital status” – live feeds from the patient administration system, providing a view of patient flow in A&E and inpatients, with the ability to drill down into underlying patient data; “capacity and demand analysis” – measuring patient flow from referral to appointments in near-real time; and “ward quality measures” – measuring the speed with which patients are collected from theatres after operations.

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