Data collection and analysis tools

When seeking to improve access, it is important to understand flow through your system and continuously analyse data on demand, capacity and activity.

  • Demand is all the work that is entering the system.
  • Capacity is how much work could be done considering all of the resources needed.
  • Activity is the actual work done, it is the throughput of the system.

Measuring the volume and types of demands general practice teams face can help identify internal processes that can be improved to reduce the time taken to meet demand.

Understanding the volume and types of activity taking place in a practice can help identify alternative ways to manage high volume activities that could release significant capacity to improve access to care.

You can read more in-depth information about demand, capacity and activity in the NHS England’s Demand and Capacity Guide. A demand capacity activity queue (DCAQ) training module is also available on the NES website (you will need a TURAS account).

The tools below were developed to support practices to collect, present and analyse their data.

Please note these tools will function with Microsoft Office 2013 or later. If you have any issues accessing or using these tools please contact the team for support: his.pcpteam@nhs.scot. 

Data tally tool

The data tally tool was developed to help practices calculate and then visualise their demand. The tool is presented in an Excel spreadsheet and contains a guidance worksheet that will support the user to set up and navigate the tool. Demand data is collected and entered into the data worksheet, which then populates a pareto chart and a stacked bar chart in the charts worksheet. The pareto chart ranks factors contributing to demand from most to least. The stacked bar chart shows the total demand tally for the day, broken down by each factor and time of day. 

Barns Medical Practice used their own version of this tool to get a snapshot of how many patient calls were resulting in clinician contact and how many were handled solely by the administrative team. At Lour Road Group Practice, a different version of the tool helped the team assess whether their clinical capacity was sufficient to keep up with demand. Yell Health Centre also used it to investigate the type and number of non-appointment-related tasks assigned to their clinical team.

This tool could also be used to understand demand specifically related to an individual staff group, for example, practice nurse demand broken down by blood pressure checks, bloods, contraceptive check, chronic disease reviews, etc.

To help you carry out this exercise, we have developed the following resources:

  • A data collection sheet which will enable you to collect the data you need.
  • A tool to accept the data and present it back to you.

 

Demand navigation tool

The demand navigation tool was developed to support practices investigate the type and number of patient requests their administrative team received, and whether patients were being offered what they had originally requested. The tool is presented in an Excel spreadsheet and contains a guidance worksheet that will support the user to set up and navigate the tool.

Data entered into the data worksheet populates a pareto chart in the charts worksheet, which orders demand by volume to show the "vital few” types of demand that present the biggest opportunities for improvement. A heat map also populates to show all the categories in relation to one another to give a “big picture” view of demand. A further bar chart allows for exploration of specific requests in more detail.

Ravenswood Surgery used the tool to investigate the types of appointments patients requested when calling, what options they were offered, and whether there were opportunities to reduce demand on practices by signposting patients to other services.

This tool could also be used to analyse demand for follow-up appointments at a variety of intervals.

To help you carry out this exercise, we have developed the following resources:

  • A data collection sheet which will enable you to collect the data you need.
  • A tool to accept the data and present it back to you.

 

Home visit data explorer tool

The home visit data explorer tool was designed to support practices to understand the impact of home visits on clinical demand. The tool is presented in an Excel spreadsheet and contains a guidance worksheet that will support the user to set up and navigate the tool. Data on the number of home visit requests and number of visits completed are entered into one of the spreadsheet tabs. This data then populates two charts which can give the user an idea of how capacity for home visits can be planned over the working week. Data on home visit outcomes can be added to a second tab, which then populates a bar chart and a series of run charts. The bar chart and run chart in the centre show the number and percentage of visits belonging to different categories. The run charts on the left side allow the user to track balancing measures, or unintended consequences, associated with an intervention.

Kirriemuir Medical Practice used a version of this tool to investigate home visit demand and activity and intend to also use it to test the impact of future changes to home visit processes.

 

GP message demand tool

The GP message demand tool was created to enable GPs to explore the types of messages that are being sent via DocMan in Vision system. The tool is presented in an Excel spreadsheet and contains a guidance worksheet that supports user to set-up and navigate the tool. Message demand is split into two types, with different outcomes recorded for each type. The data entered into the data worksheet populates a number of graphs in the charts, which display the overall demand and the variation over the week.

Ravenswood Surgery used the tool to investigate the types of messages that are being received and the impact this had on clinical demand.

This tool could also be used to analyse prescribing regimes, understanding demand according to disease type or while implementing workflow optimisation.

 

Run chart tool

The run chart tool was designed to create a run chart based on data extracted from the available appointment report in Vision. A run chart is used to review data over a period of time to understand the impact of change ideas and show whether they are resulting in an improvement. The tool is presented in an Excel spreadsheet and contains a guidance worksheet that will support the user to set up and navigate the tool.

Arbroath Medical Centre used the tool to test whether a new appointment scheduling system was achieving its intended goal of leaving more same-day appointments available for patients calling later in the day.

This tool could also be used for producing run charts on any data over time, for example whether navigation care is improving the flow of patients to specific destinations. 

 

Last 10 patients tool

The last 10 patients tool uses clinical notes to identify variation in journey times, helping you to understand what is happening in the pathway and how this can vary from patient to patient. Mapping the last 10 patients is also useful for comparison with locally agreed care pathways, timescales or key stages in a patient’s journey.

 

Process map

A process map is a planning and management tool that visually describes the flow of work. Process maps show a series of events that produce an end result.

 

Capacity calculator

A capacity calculator is a simple tool that helps you to understand the time you have available for your main work activity, for example, seeing patients or managing a service. It is an Excel spreadsheet that calculates this for you if you enter the time spent on various activities.