Benchmarking performance and informing strategic decision making

How Dr Foster’s business insight manager helped Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Ruth Holland, head of information & health records/deputy chief information officer, said: “Having a Dr Foster expert on site  with us at the Trust  and working as part of our team has given us exactly what we were aiming for: a greater focus on benchmarking our performance. Our clinicians are more engaged in the quality and use of data flowing throughout the Trust. Better informed decision making for the benefit of our patients is a reality with the reporting mechanisms we have in place now.”


Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has been a client of Dr Foster for over 10 years, using a suite of products to understand and monitor activity within the Trust and identify areas of improvement in quality and efficiency.

However, the Trust wanted to add insight and intelligence to the data and information it was producing in key areas like mortality performance, enabling more informed strategic decisions to be made but specifically to engage more effectively with its clinicians. By engaging with Dr Foster in a partnership approach, it launched a project to increase the use of, and reliance on, clinical quality data across all levels of the organisation.


The Trust wanted to use performance data more effectively to inform decisions around the development of, and improvements within, its specialty areas.

The Trust entered into an agreement with Dr Foster to provide a business insight manager, acting as an integrated member of the business intelligence team onsite. The business insight manager has since being working with the Trust to embed the Dr Foster healthcare data more effectively, as part of a three-year strategic partnership programme.

By providing an independent skilled resource with knowledge of the Dr Foster methodology along with NHS information requirements, the aim was to augment the in-house business intelligence service and better evaluate clinical quality performance at the Trust.


  • Greater clinical engagement: added greater depth of information to aid robust decision making
  • Increased use of Dr Foster data: greater understanding of performance among clinicians of the outputs.
  • Decision making aligned to strategic direction and needs: clinical quality  intelligence now flowing at all levels
  • Ability to respond to changes in market place: greater insight into market share and trends at specialty level enabling a quicker response


  • Mortality performance with monthly reporting benchmarking against peer group
  • Benchmarking providing a basis for clinical review of outlying performance
  • Regular and ad-hoc reporting to the Safety and Effectiveness Board to enable and encourage greater ownership and understanding of the data at its source
  • Regular reporting mechanism around the requirements of clinicians, divisional managers and board members
  • Bespoke analytical reports at specialty level around issues like market share and service redesign
  • Length of stay and efficiency performance data supporting application for foundation trust status