• United Kingdom (English)
NHS

Healthcare firm improves efficiency and supports reform with Microsoft BI solution

 

Anglia Support Partnership wanted better business intelligence (BI) tools to help healthcare organizations in England cut costs and improve efficiency, so it implemented a solution from Microsoft and Ascribe. As a result, its clients can improve operations and adapt to healthcare reforms while keeping the focus on patient care. The solution has also improved efficiency for end users, who can access data more easily and produce reports within minutes.

Business Needs

Anglia Support Partnership (ASP) is the leading provider of support services to healthcare organizations in eastern England, including general practitioners, primary care trusts, and National Health Service (NHS) trusts. A business division of the NHS, the support group focuses on helping healthcare organizations improve efficiency and cut costs. With new healthcare reforms taking effect, ASP wanted better BI tools to support healthcare commissioning processes.

In the United Kingdom, healthcare services are identified and procured on behalf of local communities through primary care and NHS trusts. Commissioning organizations need access to both business and clinical data to monitor costs and billing practices. To support the commissioning process, ASP provides a shared informatics service, which supplies aggregated data sets from hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers.

The commissioners then analyze the data and generate reports. However, they often used manual process that were time-consuming and offered limited business insight. “Multiple people in different organizations were collecting and analyzing data independently with spreadsheets and other office programs,” says Jeremy Lane, Data Warehouse Manager at Anglia Support Services. “It could be difficult to keep track of everything, and one team might duplicate the efforts of another.”

Recent healthcare reforms had made the need for better BI tools even more acute.

In 2010, the government announced that most NHS commissioning activities would move from primary care trusts to groups of general practitioners. “We needed to deliver data to general practitioners and practice managers whose main role is not analyzing data,” says Lane. “They’ve got the far more important job of looking after patients.”

ASP sought an enterprise-level BI solution that would simplify access to data. Lane says, “We wanted a more automated, centralized solution so that people could find the right information more quickly.”

Solution

ASP turned to Ascribe, a Microsoft partner with a gold competency in business intelligence, to help design a centralized BI platform with self-service tools based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 data management software. Ascribe provides IT solutions to healthcare organizations worldwide, and has worked with more than 70 NHS trusts. ASP decided to implement the Ascribe Commissioner Accelerator data warehouse and BI solution with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise. The Ascribe platform provides the contracting and budgetary information required in the commissioning process.

ASP wanted enhanced BI tools and a database solution it could rely on. “We were already using SQL Server 2008 R2 internally, and we knew that Ascribe worked with it too,” says Lane. “And with all the new BI features available, it seemed like a good opportunity to implement SQL Server 2012.”

In December 2011, the ASP and Ascribe team ran a proof of concept that included SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 running on the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. The solution includes Power View, a self-service data exploration and visualization tool in SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services that operates in SharePoint Server 2010. Analysts can also work with data in Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet software. ASP is using the Business Intelligence Semantic Model in SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services to publish data for both Excel 2010 and Power View.

The team completed the proof of concept within two weeks and was ready to deploy the solution to healthcare commissioners by February 2012.

Benefits

Anglia Support Partnership is helping healthcare commissioners improve operations, cut costs, and adapt to change with a BI solution from Ascribe and Microsoft.

Enhances Operational Efficiency

ASP believes that the Microsoft BI solution will help healthcare organizations handle change more easily and affordably. As a result, family doctors will be able to focus on patient healthcare instead of managing data. “Managing information will be the key to staying on top of healthcare reform,” says Lane. “If you want to create a better National Health Service with less money than was available in the past, you need to put the right information in front of the right people,” says Lane. “A BI solution based on SQL Server 2012 helps us do that in a managed, straightforward, and intuitive way.”

Improves Flexibility and Insight

ASP is confident that it has found the right self-service BI tools for diverse healthcare organizations, from national trusts to general practitioners. “We want to provide information in a meaningful manner so that end users can ask their own questions,” says Paul Brenchley, Strategic Account Manager at Ascribe. “Power View in SQL Server 2012 is a very elegant way to visually display and interrogate data.”

ASP believes that commissioners can use the new tools to improve management in multiple scenarios, including patient admissions and billing procedures. “Identifying trends and asking ‘what if’ types of questions are the sort of things people will want to do going forward,” says Lane. “Power View in SQL Server 2012 is quite a good exploratory tool for such purposes because it’s fast and very intuitive to use.”

Eases Management and Speeds Reporting

Now, both ASP and end users can work more efficiently. “Using Power View in SQL Server 2012 will be a much faster way to produce reports,” says Lane. “Instead of spending hours creating custom tables and queries for users, we can quickly put together a data model in SQL Server 2012 that they can use to produce reports within minutes.”