NHS to expand analytics tool from 850 to 1,500 GP practices

An NHS reporting tool called ‘RAIDR’ is due to be expanded from 850 to 1,500 GP practices to help them analyse and improve patient care.


An NHS reporting tool called ‘RAIDR’ (pictured) is due to be expanded from 850 to 1,500 GP practices to help them analyse and improve patient care.

The platform allows people to gain insight from the vast amount of NHS data available from a large geographical area, to examine trends such as increases in referrals, A&E usage and what time of day people are attending A&E, down to the level of individual GP surgeries and individual patients.

That data will then be used to inform commissioning and help to improve care, according to North of England Commissioning Support Unit’s (NECS) business information services director Ian Davison.

The tool was developed by an NECS in-house team and is based on Qlikview software. It is hosted on a cluster of servers in NECS’ tier 3 data centre, mirroring to its secondary data centre. 

“All servers are running Microsoft Windows Server software in combination with VMWare virtualisation technologies allowing for easy expansion. Data is hosted on Microsoft SQL Server databases", Davison explained.

RAIDR is due to expand to Yorkshire and Humber, taking it from 23 CCGs (clinical commissioning groups), 850 GP practices and a patient population of 5.6 million to 41 CCGs, over 1,500 practices and a patient population of about 10 million.

Once rolled out, RAIDR will be available in almost a fifth of the 211 CCGs in England. It has steadily expanded since its launch in Tyne and once this next phase is complete it will be used in CCGs across the North of England, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Suffolk.

Data sources

RAIDR pulls in data from GP systems, NHS healthcare data warehouse SUS [secondary uses service], Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) datasets, data from providers such as hospital admissions and national data on prescriptions, Davison said.

From that, it provides a single portal for users to tinker with NHS data to form their own analyses, displayed in a simple dashboard format.

For example, it allows NHS commissioners to see data on high cost patients and how they are being managed.

Davison cited a case where, using RAIDR, one practice found a patient who had been into their local Accident & Emergency (A&E) unit 35 times in a year.

He said: “It turns out that patient was going into A&E to get injections to relieve pain from migraine attacks. The practice said ‘it would be much easier to send a nurse out to your house’. So they do that now. It’s much cheaper than going into A&E, and it’s also much better for the patient.”

The platform has also helped the NHS identify administrative errors, Davison said.

“In one of our practices we found a patient costing them £90,000 a year. It turns out they’d gone into the acute trust for a day, but the admin person typing in the information had put in the wrong year. So it was suddenly 366 days. Discovering that mistake saved the NHS £90,000.”

Team to expand

The tool is also used for commissioning to provide data on supplier performance, diagnoses, prescriptions, capacity, growth expectations, clinician performance and other metrics.

The in-house team who built and maintain RAIDR is due to expand from 12 to 20 to meet the growing demand from new customers, according to Davison. He explained that the tool was developed in conjunction with clinicians and GPs. 

Davison said: “The people who developed and maintain RAIDR understand NHS information inside out. It was developed in conjunction with clinicians and GPs.

“They told us what they wanted in the system, the information they wanted to see and how they wanted to see it. And that’s very important – that the people who need it and use it designed it.”

Future plans

In terms of future development plans, Davidson said that a major area of focus is integrating health and social care.

He said: “We’re a big player in health, less so in social care. But we could be. We’re talking to local authorities and social services about how we could modify RAIDR to make it more attractive to social care and help it integrate with health.”

The team plans to work on expanding the range of metrics measured by RAIDR to include demographic profiling, predictions, forecasts, demand modelling and mapping, according to Davison.

They also want to make RAIDR available as a smartphone app in future, he added.