The Dorset Intelligence and Insight Service (DiiS) works by bringing together millions of data records made widely accessible via interactive digital dashboards.

A patient in Dorset was invited to a consultation with his GP. A keen sportsman in his youth, his health had deteriorated and he was struggling to stay well. By looking at him holistically, rather than through one clinical lens, he was helped to see the link between his physical and mental health. He is now more likely to take his medications and has support from a health coach.

Sponsored byNHS England and NHS Improvement 1

But it was data analysis which prompted the contact. The Dorset Intelligence and Insight Service (DiiS) links data from health and social care across Dorset, with positive impacts on the way we design services and intervene earlier to care for and support people.

DiiS works by bringing together millions of data records across a wide number of different data sets from many care settings including primary care, mental health, social care and the non-care data that impacts the wider determinants of health. This data is made widely accessible via interactive and intuitive analytical tools with the details of over 800,000 patient records updated nightly across Dorset, with other feeds updating every 15 minutes.

A critical element has been the evolution of Dorset’s integrated care system, known as Our Dorset.

By working more closely together in recent years, a higher level of trust and understanding has developed across the ICS, which has been crucial to create and manage such a powerful resource. The challenge has been to bring data safely together across an ICS in accessible formats to enable it to be linked together, with practical information that can be applied to patient care.

The DiiS provides high-level insights and in co-designed intelligence lead tools, including:

  • Population health management, developing innovative pathways and services, enabling earlier intervention in care
  • Population health needs assessments, including monitoring of long-term conditions such as diabetes and COPD through a non-medical lens
  • System resilience, including pressures on emergency departments

Along with its many challenges, the emergence of covid-19 brought opportunities and highlighted the urgent need to collate system-wide data at speed. DiiS became the system-wide covid reporting tool and has received accolades on a national stage. Collating all covid test data, along with other covid-related data metrics, including demand and capacity, presented in a live, system–wide view of covid cases, enables us to better understand the spread of the disease and its impact on services. Available to all ICS partners, this has supported multiple workstreams over the last nine months, including Public Health Dorset’s epidemiology modelling.

Working alongside NHSE and being part of their first wave of Population Health Management programme, and coupled with the DiiS response to the covid pandemic we started to get noticed by colleagues across the South West and beyond. We are now hosting a national peer learning network, run in collaboration with NHSE/I.

The strength of DiiS today owes much to the contribution of Dr Craig Wakeham, who was a driving force in the move to harness data to improve care in Dorset. Dr Wakeham, the Chief Clinical Information Officer at NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and a former GP from Cerne Abbas, passed away in April 2020 aged 59. He had tested positive for covid-19.