Summary

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are NHS organisations set up by the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 to organise the delivery of NHS services in England.

The Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Luton (HBL) Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Shared Services enables the NHS with innovative, safe and secure ways of working using the latest cloud-based ICT services and solutions.

To securely and accurately forecast staff, service, and resource availability among the local clinics and hospitals, NHS CCG engaged Intelogy to build and implement an application built on Microsoft SharePoint.

Challenge

Imagine you’re an NHS clinician deciding which locations to take your patients to. Beds are at a premium and NHS staff need to quickly identify one with the services your patient needs.

You may also remember last year’s flu outbreak, which caused a massive influx of patients needing care in specific clinics where there are more local elderly residents.

These are very real problems for local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), who need to keep close track of all available beds, potential discharges, urgent care access, service availability and schedules.  Forecasting is critical in ensuring proper staffing and service availability during potential increases in patient intake.

Historically, each of the relevant CCGs had a single point of contact, who would call each clinic and hospital in their group every few hours to assess bed and service availability. This process allowed them to assess future discharges to properly forecast resource necessity. However, this manual task chews into the healthcare worker’s day, and requires hours of time for the staff on the other end of the line, who must verbally account for the current state of their hospital or clinic.

Background noise, misunderstandings, and other factors often contribute to human error when recording verbal communication. Further complicating the matter was limited staff availability to answer these calls to accurately provide updates – particularly during busy times when bed audits may not have been done before the call.

Strategy

HBL ICT were keen to utilise an online platform where clinics and hospitals could easily and securely update service status, bed availability, and potential discharges. They also sought a solution that would give them access to historical data to facilitate trending and forecasting. It was their desire for this to be accessible in an attractive, robust, and easy-to-consume dashboard, requiring minimal training.

Intelogy was a clear choice for this project, due to their deep Microsoft 365 expertise and proven track record of providing cost-effective cloud solutions while providing the most benefit with a short timeline.

By utilising a SharePoint custom list and a one-step process, Intelogy was able to make entering content a quick and simple task for clinic administrators. All data is easily entered into a single form with clear field names and questions, right from the organisational homepage, eliminating any confusion, and requiring less than one minute to complete.

Authorised NHS staff within these CCGs have access to live Power BI dashboards and maps, showing all clinics in their area with a real-time data feed from Office 365, giving them an accurate snapshot of available beds and services to help them make quick and decisive navigational choices to provide their patients with the best care.

Results

Local events, flu outbreaks and other factors generally result in a sudden influx of patients who need care in specific areas. The ability to forecast the need for additional resources and staff during outbreaks is vital to smooth operations, not only for patients but also for staff who may be stretched thinly if not adequately resourced.

By utilising Power BI, CCGs were provided with a great dashboard to view critical information, as well as maps to view bed availability at-a-glance. These dashboards also allow historical views with date ranges to identify trends during specific outbreaks to assess staffing and service needs for similar events in the future.

Since the pilot program, this group of CCGs have expanded the number of users and grown the solution into a business-critical system that they can rely on. More partner organisations within the larger group are adopting the application as they see other organisations benefit from it.