Circle Case study

How Synergy revitalised Dorset HealthCare’s costing team

The evolution of Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust's costing team throughout their use of Synergy, CACI's patient-level costing solution.


Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust offers a range of mental health and physical health services to people of all ages from children to elderly. These services are delivered in both hospital and community-based settings.

The costing team at Dorset HealthCare has long used CACI’s patient-level costing solution, Synergy, to reach various goals due to its high-quality outputs and proven abilities in easing the National Cost Collection submission process. According to Chris Badminton, Head of Income & Costing at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, “I couldn’t see how another provider could compare with its capabilities.” 


As long-time Synergy users, Dorset HealthCare’s costing team knew that CACI’s patient level costing solution would help them navigate their most pressing challenges, such as: 

  • Acquiring the necessary patient level costing information that would inform decision-making about clinical care at Dorset HealthCare, which had been exceedingly difficult. 
  • The team was previously equipped with indecipherable data. It was input manually into spreadsheets and could not supply the necessary intelligence to overcome hurdles. “Without Synergy4, we’d never be able to generate outputs to support the challenges that we faced,” Chris explained. 
  • They struggled to get results out to stakeholders or present the results in a dashboard format that could be shared internally. 
  • Limited engagement from the necessary stakeholders became a blocker when trying to make the most of data and tools available to the costing team.  


Through Synergy, Dorset HealthCare has been overcoming challenges and revitalising their costing teams’ capabilities in several impactful ways. For example, consultancy and support from CACI in the form of a help desk has helped keep the costing team up-to-date and running smoothly.

“I access the helpdesk quite a bit. [The help desk] is always incredibly helpful and we always get the solutions and the answers that we desire,” Chris explained. “I also have regular customer care meetings and they’re really useful as well.” 

CACI’s Synergy User Group has also helped inform Dorset HealthCare’s clinical care planning and patient engagement strategisation through knowledge sharing opportunities with other NHS organisations.

“The Synergy User Group is also a great space for sharing and understanding how other [NHS Foundation Trusts’] challenges are being dealt with and for idea sharing,” Chris continued. “This has been really useful not only for the use of the product, but for understanding what the outputs need to be in order to get that engagement internally to support how we deliver clinical care at Dorset HealthCare.”

Synergy has also bolstered the costing team’s management abilities ahead of annual National Cost Collection (NCC) submissions.

“With regards to the National Cost Collection of the mandatory element of the functionality, that has far exceeded my expectations,” Chris continued. “The piece of work that’s been developed by [CACI] makes our management process on an annual basis incredibly easy.” 

Results / Benefits:   

Overall, the costing team’s evolution as a result of Synergy has been, as Chris stated, “over and above”.

“The speed of [Synergy] and the way that you can calculate and produce results is phenomenal… including its usability and how intuitive it is,” Chris continued. “It’s above what we would’ve expected.”  

Equipped with Synergy data, Dorset HealthCare’s costing team is now developing analysis to support decision making for their improved access to psychological therapies (IAPT) service. Currently, the data that Chris has presented back to the organisation through Synergy is being deciphered, and the costing team is finding ways to reiterate the analyses for other areas of the Trust.

“I think [this service] is going to become something that is rolled out across all services within our mental health function to enhance the care that an individual could receive,” Chris explained. “It’s on the cusp of becoming something big for good evidence that has been supported by Synergy.” 


Going forward, Dorset HealthCare hope to receive a regular analysis that can be used across the organisation to guide the way that clinical care at Dorset Healthcare should be delivered and further improve patient outcomes. Not only would a regular analysis enhance patient experiences, but it would also encourage the costing team’s conscious, intelligent allocation and spending of funds. 

In the meantime, the costing team will continue focusing their efforts on health inequalities. They are currently looking into deprivation data, a process that involves manually exporting data from government and other websites to generate data that can be compared against or linked to existing patient level activity data used for Dorset HealthCare’s costing submissions and costing reports. The goal is that the costing team will eventually be able to use or link the data to compare results to other NHS organisations. This would help them better understand what a patient’s pathway looks like, the costs associated with specific types of care and how Dorset HealthCare can learn from other organisations to apply best practices to their own.