InterWorks were delighted to hear that NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care has earned a Matillion Emerald Award as a Visionary in 2023.
NHS Greater Manchester is helping organisations work better together with people and communities. Professionals are working together across sectors, sharing skills and knowledge as if they were one organisation to improve the health, wealth and wellbeing of the 2.8 million people living there.
They want people across all our boroughs to stay well, whatever their age, and whatever issues or conditions they might be managing. They’re bringing together all the different organisations that support people’s health and social care, so that services can join up and act faster when people need support.
Who Are the Key People Involved?
The major players involved here from NHS Greater Manchester are:
From the InterWorks side, we have been working with NHS Greater Manchester for over five years to support their data strategy and this has involved many of our consultants. This leaves us with too many to list reasonably, though the following are the most closely involved regarding the data architecture and areas that impact Matillion:
Why involve InterWorks?
In Graham’s own words:
“Interworks helped expedite the work and support a strategy that has helped them bring the vision to life. Interworks has been there from the beginning as a trusted consultancy partner. Supporting not only the implementation, but also the infrastructure strategy, adding real value in shared learning from other clients.
We are an agile team, working with significant resource constraints over the pandemic period to deliver this transformation at pace. Investing in people through training and development has enabled us to quickly take advantage of our new analytics and data science platform. None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of these staff in collaboration with the expertise from Interworks.”
What Challenges Were NHS GM Trying To Solve?
In recent years, an explosion in the demands for health data has placed pressure on NHS Greater Manchester to maintain both its strategic focus and its operational readiness. The organization knew it needed to migrate from its on-premises infrastructure to ensure its partners received the most valuable information — and patients received the best care.
The main challenges being faced were the speed that they had to produce their reports, the size of the data that they now have to work with, and how they connect that data to explore relationships and produce the output required for analysis.
The problem required a modern data stack, and Matillion plays a part in this stack. To understand this story, you also need to understand the importance and role of other platforms such as Snowflake.
Graham, Jamie and his team were trail-blazers when they chose their cloud data platform as nobody in the organisation knew what Snowflake was whilst the team were trying to get Snowflake onboarded, which required a huge amount of assurance before they could implement it.
How Did Matillion Contribute to the Solution?
As described above, Matillion is part of a larger solution, and it is in how this solution is engineered that makes this an award-winning approach.
Matillion was not initially in scope, however it became quickly apparent that there was gap in the larger solution, and NHS GM did a proof of concept with Matillion. It was able to orchestrate and perform some complex operations easily with low development time, so this allowed Jamie and the team to operationalize their vision quickly and start proving business impact from multiple use-cases.
Matillion is used to off-load multiple processes that used to be on-prem. The ability to connect to those old on-prem assets has been beneficial in moving the larger project forward and gaining invaluable insights from all data. Because development time is reasonably low, Jamie and Chris have been able to build flows programmatically, making them as dynamic as possible and replicate process’ to new projects rapidly.
Metadata-Driven Automated Ingestion
Health and care data is spread throughout many sources and tables. Matillion allowed Jamie and Chris to develop metadata-driven process for ingestion and transformation that can be applied to a wide variety of sources. These can then be scheduled and orchestrated it to run automatically, removing manual time and resource-consuming dependencies.
Now, Jamie and his team can easily introduce new sources by either configuring the existing metadata-driven processes, or replicating them and making minor tweaks for more bespoke flows. They couldn’t have done that without Matillion.
Automated Access Control
Chris and Jamie developed a fully metadata-driven approach for automatically deploying project-based objects in Snowflake. This includes a complex set of orchestration tasks built with Matillion that can achieve various tasks such as generating database structures, creating and mapping access roles to functional roles, and configuring users with appropriate access.
All of that is completely handled by Matillion now, reducing dependencies on manual efforts and duplication of tasks. Tasks such as inviting new users or creating new projects and their respective database objects just means kicking off a Matillion flow. In the future this can be delegated to others in the team.
Matillion provides an orchestration tool with full traceability to future-proof these processes and ensure there is no single person with all the knowledge. Originally, this process was going to be built in pure Snowflake but it was much quicker and easier in Matillion.
What Are the Outcomes?
A great example of business impact from this solution is seen by considering the challenge of allocating hospital beds in an overloaded system. In NHS Greater Manchester, there are a finite number of beds and staff, and when there are more beds taken up by emergencies, there is less capacity to work through the back-log of other patients waiting for planned care.
Matillion provides the capability to bring together data from multiple disparate systems that feeds into a dashboard allowing the NHS GM team to see a detailed view of bed allocation. They can see reasons why individual patients have not been discharged or have a delayed departure from hospital; some patients may be more complex due to no fixed abode, or some have tested positive for COVID and therefore cannot be released into care homes as a result.
This really allows insight into the real-world reasons (within Greater Manchester) for the infamous “NHS patient delays.” The team can now get a single patient view of all the data-points around that individual patient to identify appropriate pathways for that patient to be discharged and the impact of discharging people outside of the Greater Manchester official area.
The use of data from so many sources allows uncovering of insights that in turn leads to insights on the actual root of the problem instead of just seeing the numbers building up.
Additionally, the above challenge has a knock-on impact to every other function like A&E. If patients are delayed from leaving hospital, this impacts on flow throughout the hospital, creating delays elsewhere.
This really provides a strategic view instead of an operational view and can lead to more questions such as, “How can we better employ our home-care workforce to ensure there is enough care available to discharged patients quicker?”
Matillion has really enabled acceleration to the end-point and there is vast amounts of data that requires this kind of technology so the only way is up!