Postcode lottery of medical prescriptions

by Alexandra Hanna

BIG data is propagated with every piece of technology we use, be it web surfing at home to purchasing coffee on the way to work. The potential for insight is immense! We at the Data School began to understand what the buzz was all about. Our challenge this week was to query 500 million UK GP prescriptions efficiently from the highly performing database Exasol.

In recent years, newspapers reported limited access to medical treatment in some areas of the UK for cancer, dementia and IVF patients. This circumstance is commonly referred to as the NHS postcode lottery. Several attempts have been made to prevent these disparities since when it first began in the 1990s, but did they succeed?

 

Timeline depicting attempts to stop the postcode lottery.

Timeline depicting attempts to stop the postcode lottery.

I decided to assess healthcare availability by performing a case study on IVF. Filtering the database for hormone prescriptions which specifically stimulate reproduction, I created a Tableau extract to query the dataset locally.

Here are some of the highlights:

·         To my surprise the distribution of prescriptions given to this date do not span across the whole nation – there are many empty spaces on the map.

·         We see a steep increase number of treatments given in 2010 and gentle fall to today’s below average values.

 

Postcode lottery case study: IVF treatment prescriptions. Map shows GP practices prescribing one hormone and quantity (color). Graphs show total quantity over time for all drugs (top) and Gonadotrophin (bottom).

Postcode lottery case study: IVF treatment prescriptions. Map shows GP practices prescribing one hormone and quantity (color). Graphs show total quantity over time for all drugs (top) and Gonadotrophin (bottom).

 

Although the postcode lottery seems to still be at play, there is still more to learn. Future directions I would like to take include setting up a collaborative inquiry for the demand of this treatment type and compare these figures in other countries worldwide. Contact me for further information.

Avatar

Alexandra Hanna

Power BI venture

2 mins read

Mon 02 Nov 2015

Tableau Countdown

2 mins read

Thu 29 Oct 2015

The greatest measure

1 mins read

Tue 29 Sep 2015

Tweaking Tableau Server

2 mins read

Sun 06 Sep 2015