Transforming tobacco control: How our data analytics improved health outcomes
The development of interactive dashboards and comprehensive data analysis significantly helped NHS Birmingham and Solihull (BSOL) Integrated Commissioning Service (ICS) to enhance the effectiveness of its tobacco prevention and control strategies, leading to improved health outcomes and reduced inequalities within the Birmingham and Solihull populations.
Drawing on the proven successes of initiatives in Ottawa and Greater Manchester, the NHS Birmingham and Solihull (BSOL) tobacco dependency programme is aiming to change the approach to smoking cessation within the region. Recognising smoking not merely as a lifestyle choice but as an addiction with significant physical and mental health implications, the programme is pioneering the integration of tobacco addiction treatment into the standard care protocol for patients across NHS trusts within the Integrated Care System (ICS).
In Birmingham, there are approximately 120,310 adults over the age of 16 who smoke, making up 13.7% of the adult population. This demographic highlights a significant public health challenge, as tobacco use is a major contributor to health inequalities. The link between cigarette smoking and socio-economic groups is well-documented, with smoking identified as the single biggest cause of inequality in death rates between the affluent and the poor in the UK. This disparity accounts for over half of the difference in risk of premature death across social classes. National surveys indicate that around 67% of smokers wish to quit, underscoring the urgent need for effective cessation strategies.
To address this issue, NHS Birmingham and Solihull (BSOL) Integrated Commissioning Service (ICS) worked in collaboration with NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU (MLCSU) to support the operational delivery of the treatment of tobacco, prevention and control strategy, aiming to align with national standards on tobacco prevention.
The project focused on patients in mental health, inpatient, and maternity settings. MLCSU’s approach involved developing an interactive dashboard that integrates data from BSOL trusts using the tobacco dependence patient level data specification. Tobacco dependency data was flowed from trusts in BSOL into the MLCSU data warehouse. The analysis, based on the national tobacco metrics, ensured alignment with national reporting standards. Power BI software was utilised for data visualisation, with the results shared on the Aristotle data visualisation platform.
Our Business Intelligence team have significantly enhanced the capabilities of BSOL in managing and evaluating its tobacco prevention and control initiatives. The provision of interactive dashboards and ad-hoc reports has enabled BSOL to effectively monitor its performance, identify and promote best practices, explore health inequalities, and evaluate the effectiveness of various interventions.
The data analysis and insights have facilitated meaningful discussions among BSOL stakeholders, including trust management and clinicians, ensuring that the program is delivered as specified.
This has opened avenues for continuous improvement and optimisation of the strategy, ultimately aiming to reduce tobacco use and its associated health inequalities within the Birmingham and Solihull populations.
“Gbenga and his team have been an exceptional support and pleasure to work with. All team members allocated have always been so dedicated and able to resolve any issues that were faced throughout the project. The guidance and feedback were always in a timely manner and the team went above and beyond to ensure our dashboard design and implementation was delivered. The end product was great and is being appreciated by all services that are using the dashboard. Thank you so much for all of your hard work, patience and support in the programme.”
Sophiya Begum | Project Officer Tobacco Dependency Programme | NHS Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System
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