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Tracking the patient journey through a health crisis with cloud analytics and reporting

About The Customer
Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC) provides primary health care services in and out of hours to the population of Cumbria and part of North Lancashire. Their social mission is “to achieve excellence in the care of our patients by providing a safe and caring high quality service that’s easily accessible.”

Operating from 9 clinical sites, CHoC covers a population of approximately 528,000. They support a range of surgeries and hospital trusts and, through digital and clinical training, equip frontline staff with the technologies and medical kit needed to serve busy city populations as well as some of the most remote areas in the north of the UK.

Identifying The Problem
Like all other healthcare providers, CHoC was impacted greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the need to provide medical consultations remotely where possible. They had been using Attend Anywhere service as a web-based platform to offer video call access to their patients since late 2017; There had been a steady but slow increase in its use up until March 2020 when the uptake began to increase rapidly (initially exponentially) in response to the COVID-19 crisis, with a diverse population of patients requiring telehealth consultations due to the UK-wide lockdown and continued local restrictions.

There was a requirement to track the increase in usage and, at the same time, gather metrics around the user experience for both the patient and clinician and quantify benefits such as distances and travel methods saved by the online consultations, alongside the beginnings of tracking the patient journey through the NHS – from point of contact to referral.

Data was available in the form of spreadsheets exportable from the Attend Anywhere database, but this involved a large amount of repetitive and manual manipulation to produce the regular reports; as the reports were ideally updated weekly this was consuming considerable time. With the inclusion of other healthcare organisations and a need to restrict the detailed information available to the report consumer’s organisation, the production of the reports was only going to increase in complexity and time.

“The Akari team are professional and friendly and have extensive knowledge of the Microsoft product stack. We have worked with them on several different projects and see them as a strategic partner. This year they supported our Power BI initial deployment, allowing us to easily track the rapid uptake and benefits of video consultations during the pandemic.”
Hannah Thomas, Primary Care Support Officer

Addressing The Challenge

Akari had delivered a 2-day course in Power BI fundamentals to CHoC’s IT and data analysis teams in January 2020. They had also delivered a deployment of Microsoft Teams to CHoC at the beginning of the initial lockdown to ensure clinical teams could stay up to date and connected.

Following on from a strategic cloud roadmap session CHoC approached Akari to advise if Power BI might be the right tool to remove the manual work around preparing the reports and to provide the appropriate information to each consumer.

Within two weeks Akari had configured the Power BI Service to ensure reports and data could be shared securely whilst being able to make use of the latest features and had developed a suite of reports to enhance and replace those that were being created manually within Excel and Word and published these to the Power BI Service. Two months later, in order to on-board additional health-care organisations to provide access to specific types of information within the reports, row-level security was added. This allowed CHoC to share a mix of interactive reports and dashboards to
related healthcare delivery partners who now also benefit from accessing this data at a critical time.

The CHoC team now have a simple, weekly task to update the source spreadsheets from an Attend Anywhere data export, with the data being updated Power Query and Power BI carry out all the data shaping, analysis, and presentation without any human effort. These results and reports are available online and can be consumed in a self-service manner by anyone with the necessary access and the service is able to scale easily to cope with continued increase in uptake.

Celebrating The Results
Several hours of effort are saved each week in comparison to producing a suite of reports by hand. The latest reports are always available on-demand and includes only the relevant information for the consumer of the data with filters and visual cues built into the reports to add a level of interaction rather than being presented with static data.

This was delivered in a matter of days from the initial approach to reports being published and consumed, and manual reports were able to be retired, allowing the team to focus on delivering key outcomes rather than building reports across separate workbooks for presentation. Through a centralised cloud identity, CHoC can share reports with external parties in a secure manner without providing access through on-premises networks or firewalls.

“Akari’s quick response, attention to detail, and flexible and supportive approach have been very much appreciated.”

Why Akari?
Power BI training and implementation is just one of the many services we provide in the Microsoft space. We are Microsoft’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Changemaker Partner of the Year 2020. Our strategy is to earn our customers’ trust by focusing on business outcomes, good advice and best-in-class solutions to support the journey through digital transformation to digital business.

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