Friday, 7th August 2020

Fighting COVID-19 with data

North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups (NWL CCGs) is one of the largest in the country and when COVID-19 struck it was faced with the challenge of harnessing the right data to ensure hospitals were not overwhelmed and critical care could be prioritised for those most in need.

The North West London health and care partnership is a collaboration of eight NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, made up of over 30 NHS and local authority organisations.


Between them, they plan, buy and provide health and care services for more than two million local residents across eight boroughs, spending circa £4bn per year.

With 400 GP practices, ten hospitals and four mental health and community health trusts across the eight boroughs, they are the largest Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) in the country.

TrueCue and NWL’s relationship stretches back to 2013, and since then we have partnered on multiple initiatives across the healthcare space.

Previous engagements include Social Care, Mental Health and Patient Risk Stratification, all of which centred around WSIC, a Data Warehouse (DWH) developed by TrueCue containing data that covers all corners of the health care space, such as GP Events, Community Visits and A&E admissions.

The challenge

As was the case across the NHS, when COVID-19 struck, NWL were all hands-on deck to ensure their hospitals were not overwhelmed.

With 5 providers within its network, which then contain a further 15 sites that are caring for COVID-19 patients, there was a surmounting challenge to harness the right data, at the right time to ensure the crisis was managed as effectively as possible across the region.

Each of these Providers were beginning to collect data on patients within their care and this was being collated by the NWL WSIC team. TrueCue’s role was to integrate additional datasets being provided by the Hospitals into the existing WSIC DWH, these included pathology results and daily situation report data.

We were then tasked to present back meaningful and useful analysis which would allow the COVID Taskforce “Gold Command” to track at a high level COVID cases and hospital capacity, as well as allowing GPs to view their specific patients in order to provide suitable after care.

The solution

TrueCue offered pro-bono work to our healthcare partners in order to assist with the fight against COVID-19.

Underpinning our solution was our WISIC DWH, which allowed TrueCue to deliver 6 WSIC Dashboards covering the required scope:

  • Hospital KPIs – High level overview of Patients in Hospital, Patients Discharged and Patients deceased, including overtime
  • Hospital Demographics – Viewing hospital patients by Demographics such as Gender, Age, Ethnicity and long-term conditions
  • Hospital Pathways – Analysing Patient journeys through Hospital Wards, determining Mortality rates based on specific pathways
  • Mortality – Analysing Mortality rates across multiple demographics
  • Geographic Breakdown – Viewing COVID cases across the NWL geographies
  • COVID Test Results - Analysing Confirmed and Negative cases based on Pathology data

Multiple issues such as data quality, changing requirements from health care professionals and simply a tight timeframe arose, though with the continued effort from NWL and TrueCue these were managed and overcome.

Key benefits

  • NWL Taskforce “Gold Command” now have a holistic view of demand across Hospitals and other care facilities, meaning equipment and staff deployments can be planned.
  • GPs can now see which of their own patients have had COVID-19, allowing them to effectively plan after care.
  • Integration with the existing WSIC DWH has allowed for enriched data – including additional information such as demographics and pre-existing long-term conditions would not have been possible without the WSIC DWH.
  • By integrating COVID-19 data with existing data in our WSIC DWH, they can now view up to date infection and mortality rates at an NWL population level, helping to drive the understanding of who is most susceptible to the virus.
  • Due to the evolving understanding of COVID-19 requirements changes, multiple iterations of the dashboards were necessary. We were able to overcome this challenge, using Tableau, which allowed for quick prototyping and development in an agile manner.

Kavitha Saravanakumar, Deputy Director of Business Intelligence and Data Management at North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups, says:

“North West London, especially our black and minority ethnic communities, have been hard hit by COVID19, with Brent and Harrow 2 of the 3 most impacted boroughs in London.

“Needless to say, effectively dealing with the impact of the crisis has been hugely challenging, and largely dependent on our capability to track the number of cases, monitor our hospital capacity, and ensure GPs are equipped to provide suitable after care.

“TrueCue’s offer of a pro-bono package of work, has been fundamental in ensuring we achieved this capability. Most notably, providing our COVID Taskforce with the analysis they require to make daily ‘life or death’ decisions, whilst maintaining optimal care and support across our other services.

“Delivering an integrated care solution with so many challenges, in a very tight timescale, is a testament to the quality, dedication and commitment to the NHS, which TrueCue continue to demonstrate in our ongoing partnership.”

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