Centralising data records to provide efficiency and health intelligence

Medway Council’s Public Health team were managing client data in a range of formats and needed to centralise all referral data.

The Problem/Challenge

Delivering a range of public health interventions within Medway, the council’s public health team had a disparate view of client data. With an increasing number of services, ranging from stop smoking, health eating, exercise and physical activity, sexual health and health checks – it became apparent that a central place to manage all referral data would make life easier for advisors. Having one client record against which multiple referrals could be made would minimise client duplication and offer a cross-service view of health. Importantly, it would also provide a place where accurate reporting on the state of public health in Medway could be done. This intelligence could then be used to drive spending going forward.

Our Approach

With advisors across the public health delivery services currently using anything from paper and pen to spreadsheets, we set about understanding the referral flow within each of the services. We shadowed advisors and watched them gather and collate data. It was important for us to understand what data was taken when. With this to hand we could start to map out data flows and prototype key areas of the proposed new system. Through consultation with end users and Medway’s IT team, we decided that real time entry of client data was the most time-efficient method of entering data. Each advisor would be issued with a tablet to facilitate this and the application we built would be accessible from a web browser and optimised for tablet devices.

We also engaged with the data reporting teams to ensure the outputs they needed/desired could be obtained from the system.

The Solution

We delivered (in phases) a secure, robust, web-based application built around the core referral processes of each service – code-named PHAIR. Permissions were set up to ensure delivering advisors could only access and see services they managed. An appointment/session booking system was built into the solution which call centre advisors used to book clients into appointments with advisors. At each contact point, advisors would be presented with tailored, simple forms to complete on their tablet with the clients. Logic within our solution triggered reminders to clients for appointments and also helped advisors plan follow up appointments. A communication module allows advisors to send out relevant emails and letters to clients at suitable junctures.

Medway’s data reporting team have access to the reports they need to extract necessary data for Public Health England. They can also pull off holistic reports across all services to allow data gathering such as “% of under 25’s that are attending stop smoking + healthy weight services”. This kind of data can help drive future spend in terms of public health delivery as well as marketing campaigns.

Always Evolving

We continue to work with the Public Health team to evolve the application we have built. Changes to existing services and the creation of new services allows us to constantly evolve referral workflows. We are also supporting further digital transformation by exploring the self-refer route to allow Medway residents to book on to services online. This has already been implemented for their Stop Smoking service and we are exploring other services for which this could be an option. Additionally we are working with Medway to deliver digital health solutions to complement their face to face service delivery.

PHAIR now centrally supports the referrals of over 12 interventions the team deliver.

The guys at Bullet & Red Bullet have worked with us for over 5 years now on various projects. We've developed PHAIR with them to help us centralise client data across all our interventions. All our advisors now have tablet computers and are able to enter data directly into PHAIR during appointments. It's simple to use and saves us so much time. Data from the system helps us evaluate where our resources are best placed.

Scott Elliott, Head of Health & Wellbeing at Medway Public Health

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