Talking Head: James Jarvis, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

NHS Healthcare analytics case study - video transcript

30th November 2022Insight VideosRichard Hartill

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How Northdoor helped Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust overcome legacy data challenges with Microsoft’s Power BI.

In this short video, we hear from James Jarvis, the Associate Director of Business Intelligence at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS. 

The NHS Trust (MTW) wanted to modernise their business intelligence (BI) reporting capability with a requirement to improve time to insight, standardise and automate report generation, allow for BI self-service and to improve data security. In addition, there was a requirement to be able to share this new analytics platform with local NHS partner organisations to reduce costs.

MTW commissioned Northdoor to design and implement a shared Microsoft Power BI P1 Premium environment and to design and develop a range of near-real-time reports and dashboards.

These allow the MTW BI team to deliver faster, more accurate insights to support the management of hospital services and to provide assurance around the quality and safety of patient services, ultimately resulting in a better patient experience

Through shorter time to insight, clinicians, administrative staff and senior managers can now understand changing patterns of demand faster than before, helping them enhance patient services.

Video Transcription

How business intelligence solutions aid Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

James Jarvis [00:00:03] I’m James Jarvis, I’m the Associate Director of Business Intelligence at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust provides a range of general and acute services to the community in West Kent and parts of East Sussex, about half a million people. 

The sort of services that we provide are urgent and planned care services, cancer diagnostics and also maternity and sexual health services. The Trust also runs the Kent Oncology Centre for Kent and Medway, which services about 1.8 million people across Kent and Medway. So, I run the business intelligence service at the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust and that includes a team of analysts, some data warehousing staff, as well as the clinical coding department and a data quality team. 

The business intelligence team provide a range of reports for operational services and the management of those services, as well as to the executive team and our board, as well as our commissioners and regulators. One of the reports we produce is for our emergency departments, the report is a real-time view of what’s happening in the department at that moment. So, it tells us how many patients are in the department, how long they’ve waited for triage and for treatment, and how long they’ve been in the department. That allows the operational management team to manage those services effectively, but also our site team who are managing admissions and discharges into the hospital as well so, it’s been a real success having that report available in close to real-time to manage those services. 

So my team produce a range of reports for the Trust. They range from reports that are produced daily, weekly or monthly for all different sorts of services. So they can be for running our emergency department, cancer, managing RTT pathways, diagnostic pathways to support the operational management of those services but also the management of our Trust. So we produce reports for our executive team and our board, for the people that commission our services and also our regulators like the CQC and NHS Improvement and England. 

The reason these reports are important is they’re providing critical information to support the management of our services and also to provide assurance over the quality and safety of those services for our patients. 

Overcoming legacy data complexities using Microsoft’s Power BI

Prior to implementing Microsoft Power BI, we were previously extracting data from local systems into our Trust warehouse and then providing reports to our customers using Microsoft Excel. Some of the challenges with the legacy solution were that our analysts were spending their time manipulating data in spreadsheets and formatting it, rather than actually spending time analysing the data and driving insights from it. 

In addition to that, we also found it difficult to automate our reporting in Excel and to standardise things which often meant there was human error creeping into production of these reports, which we were keen to eradicate. It was also challenging for us to disseminate reports to the users, we often had to email those reports out or save them on a network drive we didn’t have a secure way of publishing that information to our users.

One of the reasons we went to market for a new BI solution was we wanted to modernise our BI capabilities and also improve our maturity as a BI function. One of the key reasons for doing this was speeding up the time to insight and making that information more accessible to our users. In addition, we wanted to improve the security of our data and the access to that data. We also wanted to follow the national direction in terms of working closer as a system and collaborating wherever we can to reduce costs and improve system working. In this case, it meant working with other acute providers, as well as mental health and community services and our commissioners to create a platform where we could share information and collaborate as a system. 

Working with Northdoor to establish the right BI tool

In order for us to find the right BI tool for us, we looked at what was available on the market and we consulted the Gartner Magic Quadrant, where Power BI scored very well. We also spoke to other colleagues across the NHS that were using Power BI and it confirmed our feeling that using a Microsoft tool would be the best fit for us. 

We decided to work with Northdoor on this project after speaking to some colleagues locally. Northdoor had a good reputation working with the NHS and also with Microsoft, which gave us confidence in them and this project. Northdoor helped us with two key elements of this project. Firstly, implementing an Enterprise wide BI solution and also developing a comprehensive set of BI reports. Finally, we discussed whether Microsoft Power BI would be the right tool for us, and we decided because of our familiarity with Microsoft products, that it would be, and it would be easier for us to adopt. 

The solution we put in place is Microsoft’s Power BI P1 Premium Service, which is an enterprise-level BI tool, which has enabled us to improve the time to insight, increase the security and access to our data and also enable us to share the costs of the solution with partners across our local system. The solution has enabled us to automate our production and also to standardise the look and feel of those reports. It’s also enabled users to self-service and access information for themselves rather than needing to request it through my team, which has speeded that process up. 

What this means in terms of service delivery is that our managers are able to access information quicker and make more informed decisions. This improves the flow of patients through our services and it results in a better patient experience. 

It’s been a nice experience working with Northdoor, I felt from the start that they listened to us as a customer and were trying to provide a service that met our needs rather than something that was predefined, which I felt when I’d spoken to other suppliers. They were very knowledgeable and technical in terms of their approach and really gave us confidence in the solution that we were implementing with them. We’ve had a very positive working relationship with them throughout and they’ve always been available and responsive to our needs and I think we’ve built a really strong working relationship with Northdoor. I’d certainly recommend them to other people thinking of doing similar work and would happily provide a reference to them at any point. 

HSJ Partnership Awards 2023 Finalist
Best Healthcare Analytics Project for the NHS

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