Using data to make informed care decisions in Colorectal surgeries

Automated insights for colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women in Australia but does not receive the attention as other cancers like Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer, and Prostate Cancer. 

Naunghton Williams
Naunghton Williams

The situation

Binational Colorectal Cancer Audit (BCCA) exists to help audit the quality of care of surgeons in Australia and New Zealand, with a continued focus on advancing knowledge and understanding of treatment for colorectal cancer.

As part of their annual report, the BCCA shares the statistics of colorectal cancer treatments they recorded for the previous years.

The creation of this report is manual and the actual investigation of the results is difficult due to the report being shared in a static .pdf format.

As part of our commitment to solving business problems for clients, Aginic developed an interactive report that puts this information into the hands of clinicians and hospitals in a more efficient and engaging manner. Ultimately, the report allows the clinician to better understand patient outcomes, and what practices lead to the best outcomes.

The objective of the project was to demonstrate the ease that data can be extracted and shared with other members across the BCCA team, developing a sustainable platform that BCCA could engage with now and into the future.

Together with BCCA, we helped gain deeper insights into these leading issues, and have supported clinicians and hospitals in making the most informed care decisions based on a central source of information. 

The Aginic Approach

Currently BCCA has an interface for clinicians to extract and view their data, however, this interface was hard to use and at times the clinicians were not always sure what they were looking at.

To ensure that the solution we delivered would be easily understood by the users, we started with a short design phase.

In this phase we started by gathering the user requirements and started creating a mock-up version of what the final solution would look like and function. This way of working supports our Agile way of working. 

Our Product Approach with BCCA

Once our product owner was happy with the design for the final solution and how users will interact with the solution, we started with the build phase which consisted of two sprints. In these two sprints, we embraced our agile approach, conducting a stand up every two days to show our progress, talk about any blockers we were experiencing and then talk through the next two days of work.

At the end of the two weeks, we uploaded the report onto the BCCA website so it can be viewed by clinicians who are part of the BCCA.

The Solution
Automated Annual Report

With an agreed prioritised backlog of metrics, we embarked on the build phase focusing on the development of the clinician and hospital annual reports.

One of our guiding design principles for this project was to keep the solution as user friendly as possible. The idea behind this came from our workshop on the users. We identified that users being clinicians and hospital representatives and identified that these users would be time-poor and would want the ability to find the results they are looking for with as little clicks as possible while giving them the flexibility to investigate the data in any way they can think of.

The final solution that was delivered was a Qlik report deployed on a Qlik server. This report offered 2 main views of the world. The first is all the metrics and shows how each clinician compares in each of these metrics and the second are the same metrics however this time displayed by the hospital.

BCCA Comparison by Hospital


In the clinician view of the report, the user will be highlighted blue to easily distinguish themselves from the other clinicians. Also on this view we colour the clinicians that based on the population are statistically positive or negative outliers (with a script created by Monash University). These two layers allow the users to easily identify if they are a positive or negative outlier.

BCCA Comparison by Clinician

Additionally, we developed a second page, this page focuses on showing how the cases seen by the BCCA compare with the Nation Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Here users interested in the subject can see which statistical areas have a low rate of return with the screening program and then compare it with the number of non-screened patients the BCCA saw in their dataset.  

BCCA Statistical Area Map comparison

Business outcomes

Aginic developed the analytics and automated the dashboard for the BCCA so they can access information in real-time.

Colorectal surgeons and hospitals can now access their information across several key performance metrics in an interactive manner via a very simple user-friendly dashboard, and compare their performance against peers.

The BCCA can also now pull the data and reports to develop their annual report in a matter of minutes rather than outsourcing through a process that previously took months.

By linking to publicly available health data, we have also enabled surgeons and health officials to compare the screening rates of the general population in specific geographies with the screening rates of the surgeon’s patients. The ultimate goal is to spread awareness of the second-most common cancer and boost the screening rates which can identify colorectal cancers earlier and improve surgical outcomes.

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