Published on 29-Apr-2010
"The technology has transformed the way we manage waiting times, not only creating organisational efficiencies but, much more importantly, improving the services and care we offer our patients." - Alan Roderick, Head of Performance & Information at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Business Intelligence, Smarter Planet
IBM Business Partner:
IBM Cognos 8 BI provided the Health Board with the tools to turn reporting into a self service system, providing managers and clinicians across the organization with access to automatically generated routine reports at the touch of a button.
To provide managers and clinicians faster and simpler access to information, helping to reduce treatment waiting times for patients and improve organisational efficiency.
The IBM Cognos solution was chosen because it provided user friendly, self service features; also IBM partner Bidetime had extensive health care industry experience.
Transformed waiting list management and helped to meet Welsh Assembly Government targets; significantly reduced the administration within the Information Department; provided faster access to information across the board; improved access to performance data through dashboards.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board provides health services for over 445,000 people living in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. It serves a wider population across South and Mid Wales for specialties such as paediatric intensive care, specialist children’s services, renal services, cardiac services, neurology, bone marrow transplantation and medical genetics.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board manages nine hospitals and 17 health centres, and also provides services in health centres run by our NHS partner organisations both within Cardiff and the Vale and beyond, in Caerphilly and Merthyr for example. The Health Board is also responsible for the delivery of NHS primary care services in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, including general practitioners, community pharmacists, dentists and optometrists.
At a time when the NHS is under more pressure than ever before to meet government targets, keeping costs under control, having ready access to information and improving organisational efficiency are critical at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
The Information Department at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is tasked with supplying patient information and organisational data to senior managers and clinicians. The required information can include anything from referral time data, waiting time lists and treatment information to ad-hoc requests for specific analysis of individual hospital department performance.
However, with ever increasing information needs across the Health Board and a small team of staff, the Information Department was becoming swamped with requests for information and a bottle neck of reports was building up.
“Managers and clinicians were clamouring for faster and simpler access to information but the admin-intensive nature of preparing such reports meant we simply couldn’t deliver analysis as fast as we would have liked,” explained Kerry Ashmore, Information and Modernisation manager at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. “We also felt that the number of different tools we were using in the department was adding to the problem by creating inefficiencies and could be vastly improved with a more centralised approach,” she added.
The first step to changing the system involved setting up a project board to oversee the development of a new approach. This process included consulting people across the Health Board, with both technical and clinical expertise. A number of specialist technology providers were invited for site visits and asked to present their recommendations to improve the reporting processes across the organisation. The one that stood out was IBM® Business partner, Bidetime. The company specialises in the development and delivery of information systems for the healthcare sector and has over 17 years of experience.
One of the first steps taken was to implement Bidetime’s Intelligence Warehouse. This is a central repository that holds data from multiple systems across the Health Board. This included patient information and management data, along with information on pathology, radiology, pharmacy, prosthetics, care pathways, inpatients and outpatients, diagnostics, therapy plans and mental health.
IBM Cognos® 8 Business Intelligence software was then introduced. This gave the Health Board the tools to turn reporting into a self service system. Managers and clinicians across the organisation, with only limited IT skills, can now access automatically generated routine reports at the touch of a button.
In addition, the IBM Cognos solution helps the more technically able staff, such as those within the Information Department, to perform faster manipulation of data for ad-hoc analysis, helping them to respond to more complex enquiries.
One of the most immediate benefits, and one that impacts directly on patient care, has been to cut waiting times across the Health Board.
“The technology has transformed the way we manage waiting times, not only creating organisational efficiencies, but much more importantly, improving the services and care we offer our patients,” said Roderick.
Middle and senior managers now have almost real-time access to the latest data enabling them to manage wait times much more effectively than before. Waiting list data for a particular day’s position is available by 10 a.m. the following morning, so service managers can make decisions about patient care using the very latest information. This helps the Health Board meet the 26-week target for referral to treatment time set by the Government.
“The system has been designed to enable users to access the information themselves. They are no longer reliant on the Information Department to run reports for them and can view analysis and make the necessary decisions about how to prioritise patients and treatment plans more quickly than before,” explained Ashmore.
The technology is also helping behind the scenes. It’s enabling the Health Board to prepare performance dashboards and scorecards to review performance, and identify areas where further efficiencies can be made possible.
For example, analysis of outpatient information such as follow up rates, new patient information and ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) rates can be assessed and monitored easily. This information is available to a much wider audience than before, from the divisional directorate down to speciality-level managers. Within the Information Department there has been a huge reduction in administration effort, as the volume of basic number crunching has been significantly reduced.
“My team has been able to change its focus to provide much more added value to information than before. Self service means staff across the Health Board can undertake basic requests for analysis themselves, leaving us free to focus on supporting users and undertaking the more complex analyses that are sometimes required,” said Ashmore. “We’re finding the IBM Cognos Software technology very intuitive to use so we’re able to better understand subtleties in the information and ensure it is interpreted correctly.”
Because of the positive effect IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence has had on meeting waiting time targets, the Health Board is considering other areas that could benefit from the technology.
There are plans to incorporate all Accident and Emergency (A&E) data into the system within six months, which will help to improve the service offered, and make it easier to monitor progress.
In addition, patient-level costing is an area of focus of the entire NHS. “We believe that the system will help us evaluate the true cost of treating a patient by building up an image of the number of tests required, the diagnosis process, operations, admission and discharge as well as drugs information for specific complaints,” explained Ashmore.
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Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
Cognos 8 Business Intelligence
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