Kent Community Health NHS Foundation has deployed Interact to connect distributed teams; give clinicians fast access to the information they need; and share knowledge and best practices that improve patient care.
We really like the Interact Teams function, which helps us to connect people and foster best practices. Using it, we’ve been able to reduce travel costs and ultimately improve patient care by ensuring staff have easier access to information and training.
Julia Rogers, Assistant Director of Communication, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Community Health Trusts provide a range of critical services, from district nursing to health visitors and physiotherapy. Clinical practitioners are constantly on the move and need instant access to a range of information and resources, wherever they are working.
This is the case at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation, which has more than 5,500 staff that provide 70 different services to more than two million patients in the South East of England.
Julia Rogers, Assistant Director of Communication at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, says, “Our staff are the people who make us exceptional and they go the extra mile for their patients every single day. However, their ability to do that depends on great communications tools that help them stay connected and access the information and resources they need, when and where they need them.”
Improving staff’s working lives
Kent Community Health previously worked with an outdated intranet called StaffZone to keep office-based and mobile teams connected, but this was no longer fit for purpose.
Andy Crouch, Web and Digital Media Officer, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, says, “StaffZone had become a dumping ground of information with more than 5,000 documents. Limited search functionality meant it was hard for staff to find the information and resources they needed and there were no tools for engagement or two-way communications. We needed to find a better solution to ensure our people could stay connected and access the information they need.”
Giving staff a voice with Interact
To address its communications and content management challenges, Kent Community Health decided to deploy a new intranet from Interact.
“Interact gave us everything we needed and more out of the box,” says Andy. “It has powerful search tools, which push content quickly and efficiently to our staff and make finding information and documents easy and user-friendly. It also has innovative social collaboration features that bring our staff together and give them a voice with two-way conversations.”
Creating “Flo” to increase staff engagement
To engage staff even before the new intranet was launched, the trust’s Communication Team held a competition to name it. “The winning entry was “Flo” – short for Florence Nightingale – who now appears on the site as a digital character,” says Andy. “We’ve even created a profile for Flo, and she now authors a lot of content for the site and responds to staff’s queries and ideas.”
The Communication Team also prepared a “Flo Guide” to help people use the new intranet, along with an innovative animated instructional video that is still used to train new starters at the trust on the platform.
One of the things we really love about Interact is its powerful search function. Our front-line staff can now find the information and resources they need really easily.
Andy Crouch, Web and Digital Media Officer, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
Optimizing content and site navigation
A new site structure was created for Flo based on employee consultations and analytics from the trust’s previous intranet. “We used our organizational structure to order content on our previous intranet, but this didn’t always reflect users’ needs,” says Andy. “With Flo, that’s changed, and the most commonly used content takes precedence, making the user experience much faster and more intuitive.”
The team also streamlined content across the site to speed up navigation. “We’ve scaled down from the 5,000 pages on StaffZone to just 1,200 pages on Flo,” says Andy. “It was a huge amount of work rewriting and consolidating the content, but it’s been well worth it in terms of navigability and user experience.”
Finding key clinical information faster
Clinical staff at Kent Community Health can find the clinical information, forms and other resources they need much more quickly with Interact. “One of the things we really love about Interact is its powerful search function,” says Andy. “Our front-line staff can now find the information and resources they need really easily,” he adds.
The Communication Team has also optimized Interact searches using features built into the platform. “We’ve added keywords and “best bets”, which make commonly used and searched content even easier to find,” says Andy.
The ability to find information and resources faster is helping teams and departments across the trust to work more efficiently. “I never seem to have a problem finding what I’m looking for on Flo,” says the organization’s Head of Sexual Health. “It’s obvious how much work has gone into making the site so robust.”
Enhancing patient care with team working
Using Interact Teams, different teams and departments have set up more than 50 group and departmental workspaces to enhance patient care.
“We really like the Interact Teams function, which helps us to connect people and foster best practices,” says Julia. “Using it, we’ve been able to reduce travel costs and ultimately improve patient care by ensuring staff have easier access to information and training.”
The trust’s Head of Health Improvement, says, “Using Interact Workspaces, I can ask questions to ‘experts’ within our teams; drop into conversations on discussion forums; or ask for support. The responses I get are usually super-quick and it’s a much better way to get quick advice than by email – we love it!”
Driving continual intranet improvement
The Communication Team uses Interact Analytics to continually improve Flo and to deliver the best user experience. “Analytics shows us what staff members are searching for and helps us to identify any gaps or issues in our content quickly,” says Andy. “We can easily update our homepage quick links or see what keywords and best bets need adding, which allows us to continually evolve and improve our intranet over time.”
Making life easier for busy clinicians
With Interact, staff at Kent Community Health spend less time on admin and more time with their patients, helping to make their jobs more rewarding. Julia says, “When we first started looking for a new intranet, we wanted to make it easier for staff members to do their jobs and, in the end, that’s what Interact has given us.
“In our first month, we had more than 140,000 site visits by 4,914 users, representing around 88 per cent of our employees, and Flo has been hugely popular ever since,” she continues. “It just shows how much people value Flo and how much it improves their working lives.”