Assuring data quality to improve patient outcomes

Watch our interview with Neil Clark to find out more

How Dr Foster’s healthcare intelligence specialist helped Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Neil Clark, director of commissioning, performance and informatics/deputy chief operating officer said: “Having a Dr Foster specialist on site every week has been invaluable and a major bonus for us. It has helped maintain focus and given a single point of contact. We needed an individual who not only had a deep understanding of the data, but who understood our business, our strategy, our challenge and our people. Knowing that we have someone with 12 years’ experience of both the ‘hands on’ analytical and the strategic leadership has given us a lot of confidence.”


Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust had been a Dr Foster customer for over seven years, during which time it has utilised the suite of products to support not only its business-as-usual activity (mortality reviews, key performance indicators and quality improvement) but also key strategic developments (Clinical Service Strategy review).

As the Trust strived to further improve quality and outcomes, it knew that accessibility and visibility of intelligent data, combined with ownership and accountability, were key to success.

It understood that the assurance and integrity of data could make or break engagement with end users. Without assurance and robust processes, clinicians or the wider organisation couldn’t be expected to engage, and this is where an enhanced partnership with Dr Foster began.


The Trust identified a need to implement more control around data quality, not because quality was poor, but because the escalation, assurance and visibility of controls needed senior ownership. The emphasis was on driving up confidence in the data, essential to further embedding Dr Foster products within the operational side of the organisation and ultimately improving outcomes.

This involved developing a ‘whole system’ approach and ultimately appointing an associate director of clinical information and data quality. The partnership with Dr Foster involved access to a multi-disciplinary team and a dedicated specialist on-site one day per week to deliver the project and lay the foundations for the new role.

The project was structured around three key areas:

  • data quality foundation
  • clinical benchmarking
  • clinical performance improvement


  • Increased confidence in the data by assessing, monitoring and making recommendations on data integrity, assurance and process
  • Greater awareness of and use of Dr Foster products within the organisation – dedicated training and awareness sessions, along with an on-site presence, has contributed to an average 30% increase in engagement with information
  • Identifying areas for improvement, ensuring the necessary insight and forums are in place to facilitate and monitor change


  • Analysis and insight from Dr Foster products to support mortality alerts, performance dashboards, annual appraisals and excellence awards, market share trends, national Payment by Results audit and other reports – including specialty level packs covering 21 discrete specialties for all main commissioners
  • Insight reports embedded within quarterly board meetings
  • Regular mortality report expanded to include peer group level and a process managed by exception
  • Skills transfer programme meaning staff are self-sufficient within the new structure and processes
  • Clinical Data Quality Group with a remit to engage clinicians in recognising, owning and assuring data, to improve quality and embed an ‘information-led’ approach