Customer Spotlight: South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

When it comes to saving lives, data analytics can make a huge impact.

SCAS

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For South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), the difference of a few, vital seconds can save lives. When first responders are rushing to the scene, a swift response and as-it-happens information is critical to patient treatment. SCAS is part of the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom and its 999 service serves the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire: a population of over 4.6 million people.

SCAS reports that they receive over 500,000 emergency or urgent calls and 1.75 million calls in total each year. Therefore, it is easy to grasp the extraordinary amount of information that must be gathered, reported and responded to, sometimes in only a matter of minutes. Vivienne Parsons, a Specialist Business Analyst for Business Intelligence (BI) at SCAS comments on what their job requires:

"Our job is to get our vital ambulance crews, vehicles – and therefore patients – from A to B as quickly and efficiently as possible. In some life-threatening situations, saving vital seconds, along with the care and expertise of our ambulance staff and volunteers, really can save lives. On a daily basis we provide between 30 – 40 reports tailored to the recipient, all before the team can do analysis.”

SCAS faced numerous challenges concerning their data management. There was no near real-time solution in place for data discovery and visual analytics. A huge amount of time and effort was required to produce and report the high-level information needed for day-to-day activities. There was no simple or widely used way to put the key data required and gathered into the hands of operational staff, team leaders, and executives and across the organization. These challenges were taking up time in an environment where time is the most valuable resource.

In 2010 and through Qlik Elite Solution Provider Differentia Consulting, SCAS invested in QlikView and rapidly built a number of applications across all areas of the organization. It did not take long for the effects to be realized, considering SCAS decided to redevelop its architecture and expand the scope of Qlik usage with NPrinting for automated reporting and Qlik Sense for real-time performance apps with self-service. Vivienne Parsons, Specialist Business Analyst for BI at SCAS remarked on the change:

“Reporting used to take up the bulk of our time – especially on a Monday, where we’d be pulling weekend data too. With Qlik Sense, we can be more geographical in terms of mapping, pairing population areas with dispatch locations. It has really brought our information to life.”

SCAS’ data was certainly “brought to life” as the organization developed applications that are displayed on wallboards in the 999 control room, allowing them to see expected daily demand, performance and number of vehicles at each acute hospital. Further applications explore the use of mapping to demonstrate demand, where incidents are happening allowing SCAS to drill into geography, demographics, seasonality and time trends. This improves deployment and prevention strategies

“One of the operations team recently said to me, ‘all the little questions I used to ask you, I can now see for myself’ – that’s exactly the result we wanted,”– Parsons

Qlik has helped SCAS to eliminate repetition and time consumption for vital reports, a task that originally took about 2.5 hours, now reduced to a maximum of five minutes. Since Qlik Sense offers real-time data access on all devices, operational managers were able to view this data on their phones, enabling ‘live’ decision-making capabilities. With greater visibility and information on resources and the individuals involved, SCAS began working more efficiently and with more knowledge than ever before:

“The pressure is on for any NHS organization to show it is performing to the best of its ability – always making the most of limited resources. At SCAS, the team has performance targets that need to be met, so reporting is inevitable. With Qlik, we’re delighted to see them limiting the time spent on pulling reports and instead, putting data in more people’s hands and using it to see how the ambulance service can improve.” -David Bolton, Director, Healthcare at Qlik

Qlik Sense is also helping SCAS understand trauma profiles - for example, road traffic collisions, where each incident is routing the organization through data storytelling. The non-patient identifiable data is taken from electronic patient records (ePR) and outcomes shared outside of SCAS to many agencies. This provides insight into areas of incidents hard to quantify because either data was entered on paper and scanned, or the ability to drill through data was challenging. The data storytelling allows SCAS to profile by age, gender, location, time and conditions; and use mapping to look at the detail around road traffic collision hotspots. This level of detail is shared with other emergency services e.g. the Fire and Police services, as part of prevention and improvement strategies.

With the time saved from utilizing Qlik, South Central Ambulance Service has the ability to look towards tomorrow rather than yesterday. Time saved from data management means more time available to do what they do best: save lives in their community, and that’s pretty incredible. 

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