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Meeting the need
For the England data, each of the 15 healthcare essentials is colour coded to show whether for that measure the PCT falls into the top 25 per cent (green), middle 50 per cent (amber) or lower 25 per cent (red) for performance when compared to the England average figure.
Gavin says: “Although the tool is not aimed at commissioners they can see information the people in their area are looking at. This transparency will help commissioners and healthcare professionals ensure services meet local need and so far they have reacted very favourably to it.”
Since the tool was launched at the end of December Feedback the tool has been accessed over 3000 times and individual feedback is that it is really clear and easy to use. The charity is now embarking on a series of activities to raise the tool’s profile which includes tagging in all communication work around the 15 healthcare essentials.
The online tool will be updated to take into account changes to the way health services are organised, and to reflect the latest data. For example, in 2013, the new NHS systems in England will come into force, and primary care trusts will be replaced by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
“In the future, we hope to make use of data that shows performance at the GP practice level, as it becomes available, so that you can see the quality of care provided by your local surgery,” says Gavin.
“We also want to help people tailor their own reports and include the results of the national paediatric diabetes audit. From there our next development will be to look at the level of inpatient care provided by hospitals.”
Diabetes UK is a charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of every person affected by or at risk of diabetes. There are currently 3.8 million people in the UK with diabetes, including an estimated 850,000 people who have Type 2 diabetes but do not know it. The charity is committed to ensuring that people with diabetes receive high-quality care wherever they live, and that they know what care to expect.
The charity says getting all the checks, seeing the right healthcare professionals and understanding diabetes are vital in supporting the best possible self-management. To help people with diabetes see how local services are measuring up the charity has compiled a checklist of 15 healthcare essentials that should be provided in each local area. This campaign is part of an initiative called Diabetes Watch and aims to shine a light on the very best services, identifying examples of excellent care, and identify those areas where more needs to be done.
Healthcare Policy Manager, Gavin Terry says Diabetes Watch was conceived as a way of assessing and monitoring the real delivery of services in different areas of diabetes care, and a measure of Diabetes UK’s commitment to ensuring that people with diabetes receive the best quality care, when they need it.
Diabetes UK has now taken this initiative a step further by adding in an interactive mapping tool that uses nationally available data to highlight gaps in provision across the country. Having used InstantAtlas on other projects, the charity felt that the online mapping tool would be the best way to present national data at a local level.
Developing the tool was relatively straightforward, according to Gavin. The data comes from the National Diabetes Audit and DiabetesE in England and Wales, and the Scottish Diabetes Survey. “These are the largest and most comprehensive audits of their kind and provide us with the most current data on diabetes,” he says. The data and information is based on activity in the previous year from primary care trusts in England, local health boards in Wales and NHS boards in Scotland. There is currently no data available for Northern Ireland, but the team is working to try to make sure that this is recorded in future.
“We started out by talking to the InstantAtlas support team to explain what we wanted and how we wanted to show the data. They came back with some mock ups and from there it was just a process of refinement,” he says. “We weren’t doing anything to the data, just making sure it could be accessed in one place and in the right way,” says Gavin.
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