To Qlik or not to Qlik?

To Qlik or not to Qlik?

As I sit here (one of the newest members of the team) in this world of Business Intelligence or BI as we all know and love it- I am constantly asked – what is it like to work in the private sector and how does BI, Analytics and consultancy really help improve Healthcare?

My answer is simple, it allows the worker on the ground to really have a voice in determining what it is that is required for them to do their job better, or what they want to know about how they are treating a patient in a way they can understand – in order that, you, me and they have a better outcome and experience should any of us be unfortunate enough to need clinical care. Combined with an ethos that data ‘does matter’ this allows us to stop guessing and start knowing, making more informed decisions about how to improve what we do.

Now trite as it may sound – there is nothing better than providing the person at the coal face with what they really need. The Physician who wants to know the time patients arrive at the Emergency Department so he can see whether his staff have correct shift patterns, who actively changes working hours and can see the time from arrival to scan decrease and the mortality rates correspondingly reduce.  Making this visible, and very visual – not just a set of numbers- allows the majority of people to instantly understand what is being shown.

Of course what BI will not do, is make decisions for you. Those responsible for a patient/department/service or organisation still need to determine what to be done, but instead of a queue outside the information analysts door trying to understand what is going on, access is at a Qlik !

It is also just as meaningful, and often more helpful for someone not involved in the day to day minutiae to be able to help in translating what is required to a technician.  This language barrier should not be under estimated. However the real joy and power is seeing the change this can bring about. Seeing is believing is often quoted in many walks of life and it is no-where stronger than in health. It is difficult to imagine life without the internet and linking technology to take away the strain from manual processes alongside making it mobile provides that continuum of tools to make life simpler, and more rewarding for all.

So does BI have a place in Health in general and the NHS in particular? Unequivocally yes – the volume of data available is mind-blowing and definitely hits the ‘in’ topic of Big Data. But the real changes in clinical teams changing the anaesthetic to enable patients to recover quicker; teams working in multidisciplinary ways, throwing aside traditional demarcation boundaries 7 days a weeks to improve mobility, to a culture of no medical outliers are all real live examples where BI has been used to the benefit of the patient, organisation and the public purse.

So the aims of the private sector are no different and the benefits of BI to healthcare are self evident. Can I truly imagine life without the Smartphone – I’m struggling, can I imagine a health organisation without BI – even more difficult

– Sue Barnett

Chief Operating Officer

Draper & Dash