Using business intelligence to improve patient waiting times

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is one of the largest trusts in the UK, delivering integrated health and social care to Belfast and treating more than 200,000 people in their A&E departments.

Belfast’s emergency department wanted a real-time dashboard to provide key performance metrics to clinicians. They implemented EMIS Health’s Business Intelligence platform, built on Microsoft SQL Server 2012, which connects to the reporting database within their emergency department system, EMIS Health’s Symphony.

Previously, emergency department staff had to manually manipulate data to suit their needs and required external support to manage information. Now, with Business Intelligence they have access to real time reporting which is enabling clinicians to instantly identify ways in which emergency department services can be improved.

Real-time emergency department decision making

Belfast has a set of interactive dashboards to help them analyse the information they need. Their key performance indicator dashboard refreshes every few minutes, giving them near real-time visibility of service pressures, and supporting their teams through crisis management during busy periods. The dashboards also enable users to ‘slice and dice’ data to view recent ED activity, apply filters and identify trends to help allocate resource more effectively and ultimately improve patient care.

“Business intelligence gives our emergency department consultants and senior management team live time information for operational and clinical decision making in an extremely busy environment. KPIs can now be viewed live and delays in the patient’s journey can be pre-empted and acted upon in a live environment.”

Paul Jago, Symphony system manager at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Improved patient waiting times

Providing a suite of reports, users are able to see current performance at a glance and drill down to view detailed information on patients, improving the ease of access to data. Dr Brian Armstrong, co-director of unscheduled and acute services, comments “What we have now is effectively like an air traffic control dashboard of current emergency department performance. It helps clinicians and managers to take both a strategic and operational approach, using live data to improve areas such as patient waiting times within the emergency department.”