Case Study: NHS Western Isles Increases Efficiency And Productivity

Mar 26, 2015

NHS Western Isles has improved its productivity levels, mobile working solutions and data management after implementing a dashboard solution.

The healthcare organisation, which is alternatively known as Western Isles Health Board, covers a remote area located 40 miles off the North West coast of Scotland.

The Trust services around 26,500 people across 280 townships while employing about 1000 staff.

Despite its small size, it is still required to deliver the same range of services as a much larger mainland health board.

Martin Malcolm, Head of Intelligence At NHS Western Isles


The Business Problem

NHS Western Isles had identified that it needed to take a new approach to Business Intelligence (BI) in order to create efficiencies.

The Trust had previously been taking a retrospective approach to analysis, using outdated products such as spreadsheets.

This led to a number of problems, including a lack of up to date information because much of the information inputted into the system was often out of date by the time it was needed.

The health intelligence team decided they needed a new approach that would allow them to see data in real time, adding more value to managers.

Martin Malcolm, head of health intelligence at Western Isles, told 24N that more automation was required too.

His staff were constantly being bombarded with information requests, but were unable to fulfil due to time constraints and the poor system that was in place.


Solving The Problem

Malcolm identified that the new solution must make information and data usage more efficient and easier to access on a real-time basis.

The Trust required a product that would allow it to push out relevant and more intuitive information to clients, rather than being reactive to different information demands by the clinical staff.

It was hoped a solution could be found that would help the team realise improved data management and increased efficiency and productivity.

After shopping around, the NHS organisation discovered UK IT consultancy and service provider Trustmarque.

Malcolm explained that the firm is not product specific and so he could trust it to deliver the best product for the Trust.

It was able to act as a “one stop shop” – offering specialist consultancy and vendor agnostic advice.

“They offer a ‘one stop shop’ in terms of supporting our business intelligence requirements,, whether it was in-house for Trustmarque or other partner arrangements,” claimed Malcolm.

“It saved us a lot of time and multiple negotiations with other suppliers,” he added.

Trustmarque helped Western Isles select QlikView, a dashboard services that allows the Trust visibility over waiting lists, outpatients, theatres, inpatients, ward statistics, off island patient flows, primary care and A&E.

The company was also able to deliver the solution via remote tools which is cost-effective and quick.

Its flexible approach also offers full training on project completion for early adopters.



Since implementing QlikView with Trustmarque, Western Isles NHS has seen a number of benefits, including productivity gains.

“Following the rollout, the staff at NHS Western Isles have been very receptive and positive about the implementation and how it is enabling them to work differently,” said Malcolm.

“They can see how the technology can help improve productivity, allowing them to devote more time to understanding and improving patient pathways, instead of data gathering,” he added.

The automation aspect of the product has also allowed staff to save large amounts of time, freeing up their analytical capacity.

“Previously analysts would have taken a significant period of time to produce the necessary information from key areas,” explained Malcolm.

“Increasingly this is now being fully automated. An example is in data we routinely sent to our General Practices, where it’s no longer necessary to extract information from multiple sources and place it into spreadsheets, before making it available to the GPs across the islands.

“The data is now contained and accessed via the dashboards, it’s automated and importantly, it’s real-time data, instead of historical data. GPs can access this data on the same day,” he added.

QlikView has also enabled mobile working, which is essential for organisations such as Western Isles which reside in a remote geography.

“As long as there is a signal to the network, staff can walk around with the data literally at their fingertips. It’s already possible, whether in the hospital wards or in community health teams, for staff to easily view a range of data on their patients,” said Malcolm.


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