Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust is working with NHS Shared Business Services to market a suite of data reporting tools developed by the trust’s business intelligence team.

Among the launch applications in HealthIntell is an application to manage A&E services using real time data, which has been in use at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh since September 2014.

It provides A&E staff with real-time data on attendances in emergency departments and can also predict demand on a daily and hourly basis. It also enables trusts to identify peaks and troughs in the department, such as those that might be associated with bad weather.

Since its implementation at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh, it has helped to contribute to a reduction in the average total length of stay from 160 minutes in April 2014 to 130 minutes in February 2015.

This puts the trust well within the four hour target that was regularly breached across the NHS this past winter.

Speaking to Digital Health News, Mark Singleton, the trust’s head of business intelligence, said the trust has produced several apps over the past few years, but chose to expedite the work on A&E data because of the pressures on the service.

He said these are now year round rather than just winter and: “We knew something had to be done; we couldn’t just sit back and do nothing about it.”

Singleton said the development of the dashboard began by printing out A&E data from Excel and posting the sheets of paper around A&E to help people understand what causes pressure in the department.

“Everyone got a better understanding of A&E, and we used that learning and applied it to our dashboard. That became the foundation of what would go into the application.”

A team of doctors, nurses, management and other staff then got together on a weekly basis to help develop the tool with the business intelligence team.

“Staff could see the development of this application right in front of their eyes. So it wasn’t something alien that got forced on them 12 months down the road.”

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh’s acting chief executive Robert Forster said that the trust has seen a direct impact of using the dashboard, with its A&E ranked the best performing among the eight acute trusts in the greater Manchester area for the past six months.

“We are constantly meeting these targets, and its’ not because attendances have gone away,” he said.

The project was shortlisted in this year's EHI Awards, and the trust is now looking to spread this practice by marketing the tool to other parts of the NHS with the support of NHS SBS.

“We are developing these applications in real time with real staff and putting in real hospitals and making sure it works. We then hand the reigns over to NHS SBS to use their expertise to implement these and scale them up for wider distribution,” said Forster.

Additional applications featured in the launch of HealthIntell include the Devolved Financial Management to give budget holders a simple view of expenditure across the organisation.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh plans to market further applications a rate of around three new products each year, said Singleton, although he doesn’t just want to release anything.

“Our rule is that every product we release is a high calibre and is groundbreaking and adds real value to an organisation.”