Eight clinical commissioning groups are trialling a new business intelligence portal from NHS Staffordshire and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit.

The Aristotle portal gives users access to a suite of BI tools and reports and is designed to help commissioners plan and deliver services.

The initial release for eight Lancashire CCGs includes tools for performance monitoring, contract monitoring year on year analysis, prescribing reporting and benchmarking.

A risk management tool was also due to be live across Lancashire by the end of this month, but roll-out has been delayed because of issues around processing patient confidential data.

Aristotle is live with 50 users covering CCGs, GPs and the CSU, who are giving feedback before full roll-out.

The CSU’s BI co-ordinator Nick Lewis said all the tools were developed in-house by the former Blackpool primary care trust, but had been updated and given a “nice polished front-end”.

“We have taken products that have got some substance and stability and taken the best from across Lancashire and put them in a portal,” he explained.

Lewis said the risk stratification tool was an integral part of unscheduled care strategies and new direct enhanced services for GPs.

Senior executive for BI and IT Stewart Bond said the risk stratification tool had been live for GPs for years, but had to be withdrawn recently because of new rules around the processing of patient confidential data.

The CSU is part of a collaboration of three units that are developing a Data Management Integration Centre, which will be able to process PCD.

Plans have been sent to the Health and Social Care Information Centre for approval to start processing data in the DMIC and Bond expected them to be approved by mid-July.

He estimated that it would take another 4-6 weeks following that approval to restart the risk stratification tool under the new arrangements.

Bond added that feedback on Aristotle so far had been “fantastic”.

The contract monitoring tool includes data from the past three years allowing CCGs and individual practices to compare year to date activity and cost.

The performance reporting tool has more than 140 indicators and allows CCGs to look at performance against a range of indicators such as the Quality Outcomes Framework and NHS constitution.

Staffordshire and Lancashire CSUs merged earlier this year and now cover a population of 3.5m.

Aristotle is initially only available to the eight CCGs in Lancashire. Those in Staffordshire still have their own BI team and the new organisation is working on how best to integrate the two services.