SCW's Head of Digital Intelligence Zoe Pink, shares her journey of transformation towards digital analytics.

After 9 months as part of SCW, my personal ambition to effect real change across the NHS system is stronger than ever.

I’m passionate about supporting the evolution of reporting technologies and the necessary culture shift to convert the way transactional reporting is currently delivered. Spanning across organisational boundaries we want to ensure as a programme, Digital Intelligence adds real value to every development and every delivery, staying true to our key value of ‘Patients first’.

Any transformation programme has to be about people. Strong leadership, innovation and a passion to deliver products developed alongside our customers as partners is key to drive a change in current working practices.  Embedding a culture of shared purpose and values in working together, while delivering tangible benefits, is fundamental to our success in supporting an integrated system approach. 

Our approach

As our partners mature on their informatics journey, this is coupled with a need to collaborate, sharing data with other organisations spanning primary, secondary and local authorities. This collaboration and data sharing results in the need for sophisticated access to information and narrated intelligence, in essence telling the data story around our customers' businesses, both locally and at a system level.

A move towards digital analytics sees a vastly improved delivery of information, providing essential insight through giving the story the data tells while offering efficiencies of scale of production - all part of our core Business Intelligence delivery to our customers as partners. The transition towards digital analytics is more than a technical implementation of software and data models, it’s a blueprint, sharing a vision of the future and the benefits to all partners as we take colleagues on a shared journey towards digital analytics. 

Digital Intelligence as a function within SCW has been formed to automate the delivery of scalable transactional reports, with the outputs underpinned by enterprising reporting technology governance and data models. Enterprise is the concept of technology, resources and data that are shared across a footprint in its entirety.  Our Digital Intelligence team specialises in delivering pre-built enterprise reporting, creating reports that allow users to draw their own insights from the data presented and, delivered using SCW’s Data Management Services. 

Our partners receive detailed analysis in the form of standardised at-scale system reports, illustrating critical data trends, which can be easily and quickly scaled up to a wider system view or narrowed to an individual organisation view. This delivers an initial level of understanding of the data without the need for further ad-hoc analysis and releases our analyst resources to support more of the insight and narrative production. The automated processing of reports ensures accuracy eliminating the potential for error from unnecessary analyst intervention, and giving users access to their data in a consistent, visual and transparent form. Data models are developed with a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach – data architects, report developers, visualisation experts, all leveraging the knowledge and expertise of subject matter experts (SMEs). This approach supports best practice for transactional analytics through consistency and shared understanding, ensuring a single version of the truth.

An enabler 

Digital Intelligence is an enabler, providing colleagues with a technical capability to support ‘working differently’.  In order to facilitate a Single Version of Truth, analysts, customers and internal teams will use the same data model, which enables them to move beyond just looking at the data to develop a shared agreement of the narrative that explains the data and what it means. This can only strengthen system working, enabling discussions to move forward to the ‘why’ and ‘how’ rather than time spent agreeing figures. 

Standardised reporting ensures that everyone has access to the same single version of the truth when they interpret what the reports are saying; the lack of which has been a big cause of variance and frustration amongst peers within system collaborations.  This has played out positively in the Frimley Health and Care System led by David Patrick, Frimley Customer Director [read Frimley pilot case study here] through a move towards a hubbed partnership system approach with all interested parties in the system working together to develop a single understanding of the data.

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (IOW) Intelligence Services are in initial stages to support an integrated system programme, moving towards an agreed reporting of information or dataset (a single version of the truth) which allows for discussions to progress from the ‘what is happening’, to investigate the ‘why this is happening’ and how organisations can work together to change the future requirement [Read Portsmouth ICP case study here].

Benefits to our system partners

The Digital Intelligence Enterprise Programme is a key enabler in supporting transactional, activity-based analytics at scale. As our partners develop towards working in a collaborative system approach, enterprise reporting offers the ability to leverage effectiveness through scalable, system reporting at multiple levels, offering more efficient use of resources, such as the capability to support new system requirements with minimal use of additional resources. 

Key benefits:

  • Having standardised reporting functions releases the capacity of talented analytical colleagues from merely delivering the data to being able to carry out a more informative and high-value analysis that provides intelligence over just data.
  • Enabling and leading the cultural change to ‘work differently’ through releasing resource efficiencies, a single version of the truth and partnership working.
  • Improved consistency through standardised reporting and tools leads to a single version of the truth, both in terms of interpretation and data, enabling time to be spent on the issue at hand rather than endless discussions on figures from different data sources.
  • Consistency in the approach and delivery of the reports means information is always presented in a standard way.  Understanding this consistent approach, adopted across all reporting functions, means that information is presented in the way users expect and enables them to intuitively draw conclusions based on this knowledge.
  • Embracing a move from reviewing ‘what is happening’, to investigate the ‘why this is happening' and how organisations can work together to change the future requirement.
  • Predictive analytics - Enabling more sophisticated analysis to be developed both for enterprise-class reporting and within analytical disciplines.
  • Single Version of Understanding which extends beyond data - standardised reporting leads to a single version of truth both in terms of interpretation and data across the system which is supported through collaboration and shared culture as part of a system partner approach.
  • Strong governance of data models and supporting functions e.g. the use of formal change & release processes gives confidence in all developments.
  • As we continue to develop our Digital Intelligence function we will continue to listen to our partners, ensuring that we have a ‘Customer voice’ as part of the Enterprise development group, so that we can best meet changing requirements.

 Offered through: 

  • At-scale reporting releases efficiencies which mean that analysts can conduct a deeper level of analysis and provide an explanatory narrative to aid decision-making.
  • Scalable, efficient across-system reports underpinned by robust data models and advanced data visualisation gives partners confidence that their reports provide the most accurate data and easily accessible analysis.
  • Elimination of duplication for transactional reports so partners will only receive the reports they need.
  • Standardisation - singular visual theme framework, offering a consistent design output, so that information is presented in the way users expect and enables them to intuitively draw conclusions based on this knowledge.

So where are we now? 

Delivering the Performance Digital Portfolio

A multi-disciplinary team (MDT) collaboration; including data architects, report developers, visualisation experts and the expertise of subject matter experts (SMEs), culminated in the delivery of 16 enterprise-class performance reports, replacing Excel legacy offerings.

Delivery of the reports, which provide oversight for all public performance measures, was enabled through the use of data models and visualisation tools, namely Tableau and PowerBI. All reports are accessible through SCW’s Insights portal, enabling and supporting our partners in 'working differently’ through the availability of this data, and the releasing of resources to support the move towards detailed data journalism, i.e. telling the story of the data.

This is the first time reports have been offered to our customer partners using a MDT delivery service approach, scaled across the footprint, leveraging SCW’s breadth of experience and knowledge across all Business Intelligence from development through to analytics.

Delivered so far:

Performance reports – ​6 dashboards providing detailed analysis of all areas of Provider activity, developed to support partners in their statutory customer assurance obligations, for monitoring and understanding Provider performance.

Contact Monitoring Solution (CMS) Digital Portfolio - a suite of reports and dashboards that inform a Provider’s activity and cost performance against plan to identify, manage variance and ensure the effective use of resources to deliver value for money. 

Coming soon:

Mental Health Digital Portfolio - The Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) collects data from the health records of individual children, young people and adults who are in contact with mental health services. The Mental Health Self Service suite enables access to the commissioner post-deadline extracts; which collate all the activity submitted by in-scope organisations that provide specialist secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder services. 

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