Wednesday, 12th May 2010
Article published on Microsoft NHS Resource Centre on 12th May 2010
Stoke-on-Trent National Health Service (NHS) Primary Care Trust (PCT) is using innovative mapping technology as part of its overall business intelligence solution to help analysts target NHS services at areas and people in greatest need of healthcare. Using Bing Maps for Enterprise, patients can now search for dentists, doctors’ practices and pharmacies using an Internet browser or mobile device. These innovations are helping the PCT improve its World Class Commissioning standards.
With an annual budget of £460 million ($692 million US), Stoke-on-Trent NHS PCT is responsible for improving the health of 279,000 people through investment and modernisation plans. As well as commissioning services, the PCT provides and manages key healthcare services, including doctors’ practices, pharmacies, dental surgeries, opticians, community hospitals, and primary care centres.
When John Uttley, Head of Health Intelligence at Stoke-on-Trent NHS PCT, joined the organisation in 2008, he launched an ambitious plan to significantly increase the health intelligence available to the organisation. The work has focused on creating a data warehouse and business intelligence solution, which uses Microsoft technologies, including Bing Maps for Enterprise, to access and map information stored within the warehouse.
In addition, a service locator service has been launched on the PCT website, which uses Bing mapping and tagging technology to send information about services to patients with Internet access or mobile devices.
Uttley implemented an intranet and business intelligence solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software with Bing Maps for the geographic information elements. Uttley says: “The goals for my own team are to make more information available to healthcare colleagues and patients on a self-service basis, as well as help deliver the core responsibilities of the PCT. We are supporting the PCT in its mission to achieve Level 3 World Class Commissioning competencies in all three health intelligence areas set by the UK Department of Health”.
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Shoothill designed an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) using Office SharePoint Server 2007 to create a needs analysis tool for the PCT, which is being piloted. This is helping the PCT compare medical and socio-economic data to improve delivery of services so they reach the areas of greatest need.
Rod Plummer, Managing Director at Shoothill, says: “By instantly cross-referencing multiple datasets such as medical and socio-economic data, then representing these as multi-coloured heatmaps, the system helps staff easily allocate health resources to where they are most needed. An example of this would be comparing the home addresses of breast cancer patients with the location of screening services. When viewed this way, anomalies or other discrepancies in the provision of healthcare services are easier to spot and action can be taken much faster”.
The PCT also embraced Microsoft Tag technology, which makes it easier for healthcare professionals–and, eventually, patients–to access information from mobile devices. Tags are similar to barcodes, which are read by the camera in a mobile device. The image means the phone can store information relation to the Tag, open a website on the user’s phone, or dial a telephone number–for example, a telephone number from a patient’s appointment letter.