Project description

Hospital performance is a topic of great importance, and one that deserves a much deeper analysis than the yearly anecdotes about the winter crisis. This interactive created by the Data Unit, covering England and Wales, allows local readers to easily access the vital information they need about the performance of their local hospital. The upper part of the interactive gives an overview of both comparative performance on a number of key indicators since 2010, as well as detailing the worst month on record at the trust for each indicator. As well as this, there are line graphs that show the performance for seven indicators since records began, clearly showing how the trust has fared in terms of performance over the period and in relation to any performance targets set by the government. The period covered by the graphs can be changed to allow users to zoom in on areas of interest, such as the most recent quarters.

What makes this project innovative?

The interactive brought together hundreds of individual monthly spreadsheets into an easy to use interactive in a way that it hasn't been previously available. I believe both the story and the interactive clearly present fragmented and often confusing government statistics in a way that is easy for readers to understand. The article and the overview highlight the ways in which, for most trusts, performance has deteriorated in recent years, bringing local insight and clarity to a national story about the the NHS at “breaking point”. The interactive also uses the published statistics in a way which allows readers to do their own analysis of the figures by providing the detailed figures in the form of simple to understand line graphs.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The story and the interactive were widely used across Trinity Mirror national and regional titles, where it was among the most read items on a number of the sites on the day it was published.

Source and methodology

The data is brought together from publicly available spreadsheets published on a monthly and quarterly basis by the UK government and the Welsh government. It is cleaned, taking into account trusts that have merged over the year to ensure the dataset is accurate and up to date.

Technologies Used

The data is analysed in Open Office. It was then sent out using the Data Unit's bulletin system. The bulletin system is based on stories written in Google Docs, which are then sent out via Gmail using a script that collects the data from the Google Doc and creates emails that are sent out based on a spreadsheet of contact details. The interactive is built using HTML, CSS, Javascript, ajax, jQuery, Google maps, with data retrieved with queries to a Google fusion tables.

Project members

Carlos Novoa, Dmitri Thompson, Mark Magill

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