The role of NHSI is to collate and analyze millions of data points from over 250 UK health trusts, to identify where operational improvements can be made and patient care improved. However, when Mridula Sori, Analytics Development Lead joined NHSI (then known as Monitor) in 2014, there were no dedicated analytics tools or data platforms in place, making it very difficult to see the full picture or effectively do analytics
“A lack of data consistency meant different versions of the data were being used across the organization,” explains Mridula. “As a result, not only was analysis slow to perform, but accurate benchmarking of performance between trusts was very difficult.”
Using Tableau and single source of data platform, the NHSI’s analytics hub can now create uniform data sets on key national health target areas in a matter of minutes. All trusts can then access the same data set through custom dashboards and compare their performance against each other, helping to identify areas of best practice which can then be adopted more widely.
Mridula cites the National Accident & Emergency (A&E) dashboard as a great example of this.
“Each day we receive a report from every hospital containing A&E performance information on everything from the number of ambulances queuing outside to how long each patient waited to be treated,” says Mridula. “This information is automatically updated in the A&E dashboard in Tableau, giving regulators , winter room operations teams and hospitals a clear, up-to-date view of performance across the whole country.”
Mridula highlights Tableau’s ease of use as a key factor in this process, meaning hospital employees with very little Tableau training can easily interact with the dashboard, drill down into data and start asking questions.
“By visualizing the data in Tableau, it’s easy to see which hospital A&E departments are performing best in key areas, sparking more conversation between the trusts about why this is,” explains Mridula. “This collaboration encourages the sharing of best practice, which quickly leads to higher quality care for all A&E patients.”
The same Tableau dashboards can also be used to anticipate future hospital performance by correlating weather or seasonal data with historical performance in the same circumstances. Doing so allows NHSI to identify potential issues and take preventative action where needed.
“Using Tableau and modelling tools such as Alteryx, we are working on more advanced analytical techniques like prediction modelling, to predict surges in demand and plan for better bed and staff capacity,” says Mridula.