NHS England has set its sights on growing the number of users who rely on its FutureNHS cloud-based collaboration platform from just over 310,000 today to 600,000 by 2025.
The growth projection follows NHS England’s renewal of its hosting and support contract for the platform with SME public sector IT services provider Kahootz. The two-year contract was renewed via the government’s G-Cloud procurement framework and is valued at £1.67m.
“With the partnership renewed and our sights set on the goal of 600,000 users by 2025, we are gearing up to support the FutureNHS team in their efforts to facilitate seamless collaboration and sharing best practices across the health and care ecosystem,” said John Glover, sales and market director of Kahootz.
After making its debut in 2017, the FutureNHS platform has seen user numbers steadily grow from 5,000 registered users to more than 310,000 today, with around 9,000 new ones joining each month.
FutureNHS is an online sharing platform designed specifically for use by members of the health and social care community to enable collaboration across organisational boundaries and silos.
As such, the platform is used by people working in a wide range of roles across the NHS and social care sector, including those involved with commissioning, frontline staff, clinicians and other third parties.
The growth and development of the platform is the subject of a recent “checkpoint” report by consultancy firm Agile Elephant, which has been tracking the use of FutureNHS for several years, with its first report published in September 2017.
The latest one – published in November 2023 – details the “varied and effective” ways the platform is being used to aid collaboration, including to help embed new ways of working across outpatient services by allowing staff to share specialised resources and host discussions in private forums.
It is also being used to help NHS trusts achieve their net-zero goals by allowing teams to share best practice and ideas about how they can lower their carbon emissions.
The platform also came into its own, the report states, at the start of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic by supporting the creation of the AnalystX group, so virtual teams across the entire health and social care ecosystem could share resources and data points with greater ease.
“During the pandemic, the platform has been instrumental in helping accelerate change and improvement across the NHS,” the report said.
“It enabled the rapid build of new professional communities to address the challenges… [including] services for the homeless and finding them accommodation… [and] helping patients online during and after lockdown.”
The report continued: “Its ease of integration into other IT environments allowed it to rapidly integrate with other non-NHS bodies. It was often the only way to collaborate and move files between various third-party users.”
Alice Montgomery-Reed, head of FutureNHS at NHS England, hailed the difference the platform has made to the way the NHS and social care system operates.
“The platform has been a vital tool in supporting teams across the system with the response to the pandemic and now into recovery; building collective knowledge, innovation and creativity.”
David Terrar, founder and chief experience officer of Agile Elephant, as well as the CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum, described FutureNHS as being one of the largest collaboration communities of its kind.
“FutureNHS is a real success story, connecting hundreds of thousands of dedicated professionals across the entire NHS health and care ecosystem to help them solve problems, reduce waste, and provide better outcomes and care – it should be applauded as one of the largest collaboration communities of its kind,” he said.
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