Every week, the NHS seems to grab headlines for all of the wrong reasons. Recently, two issues at the forefront of the health agenda were reportedly a lack of nurses and delays in the discharge of fit and healthy people within healthcare institutions. The lack of staff confirms those issues raised in the Francis and Berwick reports, and NICE will only be able to adjust their recommended minimum staffing levels by August 2014, some nine months away. Alongside this, delays in discharges result in a concept known as ‘bed blocking’, where those in urgent need are prevented from receiving care simply because of a delay in processing patients.
Of course, a simple snapshot view of these two issues clearly shows how they may be linked. Not enough nursing staff to provide adequate care causes delays in communication between doctors and nurses, leading to subsequent delays in decisions to discharge. Compounding these problems, issues surrounding patient experience will once again be at play. With nurses so highly stretched, which naturally impacts upon the quality of service they deliver, what can be done to help the NHS?
Data is the answer
Once again, it would seem that more accurate data processing and visualisation would solve the many concerns arriving from within the NHS. Allowing early visualisation of the answers to the question of “What is going on?” through meaningful information derivation can allow beneficial decisions to be made that have a positive impact on all parties involved.
Often, organisations deal with isolated large data sets that are viewed individually. In many instances, comparison between different data sets will reveal links between individual components of these data sets. As all hospitals collect patient experience data, a particular ward with low levels of patient experience could be mapped against other data collected for that ward, including staffing attendance, absence rates, infection control, PLACE assessment scores and so forth. This would likely reveal any underlying reasons and allow implementation of appropriate solutions.
However, the same concept can also be applied to those wards that have scored well on patient experiences. When contrasted against any poorly performing wards, it may be simpler to identify potential reasons for any successes or shortfalls in performance, guiding internal best practices and application of resources evenly amongst hospitals. Each of these will contribute in time to happier patients and more effective care.
“We don’t do anything with the data we collect”
In our experience, we know that many hospitals are aware of the large amounts of data they collect, but not of the power it may hold. Healthcare professionals care most about treating their patients and rightly so, but with the right processing powers, data can allow them to perform their jobs more effectively. Whilst we’re passionate about effective data use, we also care about treating patients – and knowing that doctors have access to information that may help them to care more effectively will benefit those we care about.
Our dedication to improving services in the health and public sector is why we’ve supported awareness campaigns, clinical trials, activity analysis, screening and many different projects in the past. If you would like to learn more, please give us a call on 0208 903 5432 or email. Read more about what we do and where our passion, ethics and morals are derived from.
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to share our experience, views and expertise with you using live examples.
Alternatively, a free, no-obligation educational knowledge-share workshop may be more effective if you have a specific project in mind, which can be held at your premises to let us learn about your challenges and advise you in the right direction.
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