NHS Digital develops cervical screening rates dashboard

Interactive tool developed on Microsoft BI to support effort to arrest fall in screening coverage

NHS Digital has developed an online data tool aimed at improving cervical screening rates by helping GPs and healthcare organisations identify areas that need improvement.

Stephoscope on laptop keyboardIt said the interactive dashboard, developed from Microsoft’s Power BI business analytics suite, will provide more detailed and timely information about screening for abnormal cells on a woman’s cervix.

This is often associated with the development of cancer and there are concerns that a reduction in screenings could have an effect on the incidence of cancer. Cervical screening coverage in England has decreased for the second consecutive year, according to the most recent annual figures published by NHS Digital.

The organisation has collaborated with Public Health England (PHE) and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust on the initiative, as part of a PHE-led project to support GP practices and clinical commissioning groups in improving attendance and coverage rates.

The dashboard includes data to match local authority areas and – for the first time – clinical commissioning groups and GP practices. It will be updated on a quarterly basis.

Visually dynamic

Pritpal Rayat, analytical section head and responsible statistician for screening and immunisations at NHS Digital, said: "The new dashboard will make more timely information available about this important area in greater detail than ever before. Users will be able to access the data in a range of visually dynamic ways, such as interactive maps and charts, as well as data tables.

"We hope this useful online resource will help support and empower GP practices, local authorities and CCGs to improve cervical screening attendance and coverage, thus ensuring more of those at risk of cervical cancer are diagnosed as early as possible.”

PHE has also created a resource, to be hosted on the GOV.UK website, which will contain data and background information on coverage and will link to both the NHS Digital and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust sites.