The NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is using Huddle cloud collaboration software as part of its ongoing transformation programme to deliver more joined-up health and social care across the district.
NHS Stockport CCG is made up of 50 general practices in the area, and has responsibility for commissioning health and care services for patients registered with Stockport GPs. Increasingly, health and social care will be provided jointly across Stockport.
The programme to improve the care system for local people depends on seamless collaboration between different stakeholders including the CCG, Stockport Council, HealthWatch, foundation trust hospitals, mental health providers, ambulance services and the third sector.
Paul Fleming, associate director of information management and technology at NHS Stockport CCG, said the organisation is trying to deliver more care out of hospitals and closer to home, and that this requires the CCG to take a more joined-up approach.
“There are more complex cases,” he said. “People are living longer and have multiple issues with health. What we need to do better is join up that care for that person – their GP needs and their social care needs.”
The transformation project requires a lot of document collaboration between the different agencies, and the CCG is using Huddle cloud collaboration software to plan projects by sharing workflow and meeting information between the stakeholders.
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Fleming said Stockport had chosen Huddle because the traditional IT systems and ways of working couldn’t deliver the inter-agency collaboration and data security standards the CCG must meet.
“We use SharePoint to work together inside the CCG,” he said. “However, we needed to share content with external agencies on the other side of the firewall—something beyond our current SharePoint configuration. Even though we’re not sharing confidential patient data, we still need to be certain that any external collaboration is managed securely. It all started out of the need for cross-organisational calendar views, then we targeted a much wider opportunity.”
While Fleming and his team still use SharePoint, he said the system may be completely replaced in the future.
Huddle allows all the CCG’s 100 users working on the transformation project to create and share any type of content with anyone inside or outside the organisation. Audit trails mean users always know who has seen which file and when.
“Huddle is saving NHS Stockport CCG a huge amount of time, money and effort by centralising content in the cloud and giving everyone secure access to that content,” said Fleming.
Huddle is also helping the corporate side of the CCG to become paperless by eliminating reams of printouts for board meetings.
“The higher the level of the board, the bigger the stack of papers that come with it,” Fleming said. “There are a few thousand sheets of paper in a weekly meeting.”
The new document sharing platform has eradicated the need for this mass of paper by allowing employees to access the documentation through an iPad or laptop.
Fleming said that for a Monday morning directors’ meeting the documentation only comes out late in the previous week, leaving him only the weekend to check the papers. But with Huddle on his iPad, he can easily read the documentation at home, with the latest meeting notes at the top of the folder, and make comments on it ahead of the Monday meeting.
Huddle to the max
“Since using Huddle I’ve never printed off a set of paper notes,” he said. “It’s a lot about Huddle’s interface and ease of use. One of the things I’ve been looking at is how people are using Huddle – and why they are not using it to its full extent. Everyone’s got their own ways of working, and I don’t want to bring in a tool that changes everyone’s way of working if it changes the most productive way they work.”
He said it is still early days with the new tool and there is a mixed take-up, with some people really embracing Huddle and using the calendar and comments, while others take in some papers via an email on their laptop, or in some cases still print documents out.
“It’s still emerging and we need to work out how to get a ubiquitous roll-out,” he said. “It’s about the person, the device and the nature of work.”