When Martin Dowler first heard CWP directors were considering upgrading their intranet, it was music to his ears.
As Knowledge Manager at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Martin is responsible for ensuring clinicians have access to the information they need to do their jobs effectively. And with a clunky and dated intranet, that’s not always so easy:
“We initially had SharePoint 2007, just out of the box,” Martin recalls. “And limited in-house development resource - not enough to develop and configure a new interface - we had a dated system that hadn’t been updated for nearly eight years.”
And that meant that getting the right information to the right staff at the right time was becoming increasingly challenging. Technology was advancing. But the Trust’s intranet was falling further and further behind…
A geographically dispersed organisation in need
CWP provides mental health, learning disability, physical health and substance misuse services - but from more than 66 physical locations. To ensure a uniform service, thousands of geographically dispersed staff members all need to be continuously reading from the same page.
“It’s not like an acute hospital where most are based in the same place.” Martin explains. “Every day, we need to make sure staff across our footprint are updated with correct processes, procedures and care guidelines for a wide range of conditions. Ensuring people have consistent information without sending a barrage of emails isn’t easy.”
Staff are rightly focused on patient care and they don’t have the time or the intranet design experience needed to use complex systems.
The value of a fully functioning intranet solution
But Martin had an opportunity to change things – and he wasn’t going to pass it up.
He knew his new solution needed to be user friendly, as well as a good use of public money. He knew that, no matter what happened, clinicians themselves had to be comfortable working with it. In fact, Martin wanted a solution that the entire organisation was confident using.
So Martin knew what he was after and went about researching the market.
Finding the right solution, of course, wasn’t necessarily straightforward and required careful consideration of cost and maintenance. Cloud2’s Hadron was chosen as the intranet of choice after a rigorous procurement process and won the Trust’s confidence – both because of its proven performance and its relative price tag.
“What really sold it to us was the fact it had already been built for other NHS organisations such as NHS England” says Martin. “The back end structures had already been developed including the terminology needed for keywording and a better search function. This meant we got our 20% customisation but weren’t paying to start developing something from scratch. Most importantly staff didn’t need to delay adding information to the intranet while thinking about design and structure.”
Martin knew implementation needed to go smoothly, given the challenges that CWP staff faced with technology which affected their confidence and perception of new systems.
“We soft-launched the new solution alongside SharePoint 2007, with a prominent button on Hadron that redirected people back to the old system,” Martin explains. “It allowed us to launch early, whilst the information was still being migrated from SharePoint 2007, so staff could get used to the system.”
Of course, an early launch meant it was imperative the new solution was readied to tight timescales, without compromise.
“Cloud2 were really good with things,” said Martin. “They really were willing to go the extra mile, deadlines were hit and there wasn’t any element of the original specification that was left out. Hadron met every criterion we had.”
A welcome change
But has the new solution helped win staff over? Are the Trust’s 66+ locations now using it day to day? Again, Martin testifies:
“It’s funny, enquiries to the support desk have gone up – purely because there are so many more people now using it. Clinicians are managing their own presence and want extra-functionality and things like e-forms built in. The good thing is it’s built on the SharePoint platform, which means it can be updated and developed in time. We’ve developed electronic on-call rotas and are in the process of building e-forms now and producing workflows to develop processes to auto-generate parking permits amongst other solutions.”
The e-forms aren’t the Trust’s first Hadron update, either. The Tissue Viability Service have developed a pathway that allow clinicians to diagnose and treat pressure ulcers; a common comorbidity amongst Trust patients. The interactive pathways sit within Hadron and help clinicians spot pressure ulcers early on, curb treatment costs and improve patient care.
An intranet to revolutionise collaboration and communication
Before Martin and his team upgraded to Hadron, a dated intranet made life difficult for staff at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
With the new solution in place, the Trust has been able to focus on the content and how the system can save time and money. Senior clinicians are now able to broadcast updates to the right people at the right time. Getting hold of policies and guidelines is as easy as a simple digital search.
CWP is committed to continuous improvement and looks forward to further developing the intranet to enable staff to access the information they need and support them to deliver excellent patient care.← Other stories