Locala Community Partnerships, a leading UK healthcare provider uses Interact’s intelligent intranet software to bring together geographically distributed teams of clinicians, giving them fast access to the critical clinical information they need.
To deliver the best possible care for their patients, healthcare providers need to ensure that clinical staff can focus as much of their time and energy as possible on frontline service delivery. What’s more, teams must have instant access to all the clinical information and documentation they need to treat patients effectively and safely, while complying with NHS and central government regulations for prescribing medication and other key clinical processes.
These are just some of the challenges facing Locala which provides a wide range of NHS community healthcare services to well over 400,000 people in and around Kirklees, West Yorkshire in the UK. Of Locala’s 1,400 employees, around 900 clinical staff – including community nurses, doctors, health visitors and therapists – travel extensively to see patients in their homes and health centres. Spending virtually none of their time in the office, Locala teams need fast access to care guidelines, prescription information and other critical information on the move. All documents must be up to date to ensure compliance with NHS guidelines for care delivery.
In the past, Locala’s critical clinical documents were stored on a shared drive that could only be accessed from certain locations, which was hard for travelling teams to access. With no built-in search functionality, finding the right documents took up time that could have been better spent with patients. Clinicians also worked from documents stored locally on their laptops, which were sometimes out of date and communicated by email: an inefficient way of sharing strategic information and best practices.
Bobby Evans, Web and Intranet Co-ordinator at Locala, says, “There are always communications challenges in a distributed organisation, and that was definitely our case. We wanted to explore how new technology solutions, and specifically intranet solutions, could help our clinicians access the documents they need more quickly and easily and ensure they are always up to date. We also wanted an intranet platform that could support real-time communications between senior managers and teams to help us build a more unified, productive, compliant organisation.”
“As well as meeting all our requirements for knowledge sharing, document management and process automation with no custom development needed, Interact also tracks users’ individual with its intelligent algorithms, helping us to serve them the content they need, where and when they need it.”
Bobby Evans, Web and Intranet Co-ordinator, LocalaStart your free trial
Based on a thorough evaluation of available intranet technologies, Locala chose to deploy Interact, an intelligent intranet platform with hundreds of easy to use collaboration and knowledge sharing features available out of the box. Interact applications deployed by Locala include Workflow and Forms, Teams, Room and Resource Manager, Expenses Manager, Calendar, Blogging Tool and Analytics, and Interact also delivered project management, planning and implementation and end user training and support services to support the intranet rollout.
“We chose Interact because of the rich functionality that comes with the product as standard,” says Evans. “As well as meeting all our requirements for knowledge sharing, document management and process automation with no custom development needed, Interact also tracks users’ individual behaviours with its intelligent algorithms, helping us to serve them the content they need, where and when they need it.”
Locala’s intranet, which is called Locala Community, gives clinicians a single point of access to critical clinical information and resources, including Interact’s People Directory with colleagues’ contact details, a searchable library of key clinical documents, and links to a range of clinical systems and partner systems. All documents are updated regularly, helping to ensure compliance with NHS regulations and guidelines for delivering patient care.
“The homepage of our intranet includes a ‘Need to Know’ section with news on incidents and epidemics that may affect people’s jobs."
Bobby Evans, Web and Intranet Co-ordinator, Locala
To make resources and information on the Interact intranet available quickly and reliably on the move, Locala has rolled out a fleet of Samsung smartphones with 4G connectivity for clinicians. “With Locala’s Community and new 4G phones, clinicians can get even faster access to the information, documents and resources they need, saving them time and helping them focus on meeting patients’ needs,” says Evans.
The Blogging Tool within Locala’s intranet gives the Chief Executive, Richard Flack, an excellent platform for communicating with colleagues across the organisation. “Our Chief Executive was one of the first people to embrace blogging as a way of communicating with distributed managers and teams,” says Evans. “His blogs are extremely popular and he actively requests that people comment on them. They are a great resource for people, and they help to unite and inspire our teams during major projects and new business bids.”
“We now have around 100 people sharing their experiences in blogs and more than 1,300 people reading them regularly, which is a really impressive result for us.”
Bobby Evans, Web and Intranet Co-ordinator, Locala
Leading by example, Flack has helped to create a thriving blogging culture at Locala. “Because many team members spend so much time out of the office, they often find it difficult to talk to colleagues in person about their experiences and ideas for improving patient services,” says Evans. “We now have around 100 people sharing their experiences in blogs and more than 1,300 people reading them regularly, which is a really impressive result for us.”
By using automated Interact Workflows and Forms, Locala has improved efficiency across a range of clinical and administrative processes. One example is the organisation’s new-starter on-boarding process, where efficient workflows have replaced paper forms.
“In the past, managers filled in six paper forms on behalf of new starters and sent them off to all the relevant departments, from procurement and IT to HR, which was very time-consuming. Now, with Interact, managers fill in a single form online and the relevant information is forwarded to the right departments instantly. Managers save nearly a day of administrative work, and new starters get the equipment and training they need much faster. The new, lean process has been a huge success.”A range of other processes have been streamlined using automated workflows in the Locala intranet. “We conduct mandatory hand-hygiene audits for clinicians, and those are much faster now with our intranet, compared to using paper forms,” says Evans. “It’s just another example of how we’re saving time with Locala Community.”
“With Interact, managers fill in a single form online and the relevant information is forwarded to the right departments instantly. Managers save nearly a day of administrative work, and new starters get the equipment and training they need much faster.”
Bobby Evans, Web and Intranet Co-ordinator, LocalaBook a demo
Locala has enhanced its procurement with Interact. “In the past, different teams bought peripherals and consumables from different suppliers on an ad hoc basis, which was a very expensive way of doing things,” says Evans. “To address this, we created an approved procurement catalogue by creating a content area on our Intranet, putting agreements in place with suppliers to ensure best value. The catalogue provides pictures and detailed product information, so colleagues select the products they need and pass on the details to the procurement team for processing.”
Interact Teams functionality is supporting seamless information sharing between Locala teams. “Certain groups, such as managers or bid teams, need to share information that can’t be seen by a wider audience internally,” says Evans. “With Interact, we can set up teams within Locala Community and set permissions to restrict access to authorised colleagues only. This helps us reduce requirements for email communications between team members dramatically, and makes it much easier for them to collaborate on projects and bids.”
This functionality was used successfully to undertake a major skills audit. “We wanted to find out what skills our managers have and whether they were being used in the best way possible,” says Evans. “With the team site, we were able to conduct this audit in a way that was simple and efficient, with no need to send hundreds of emails back and forth. We are also looking into the possibility of sharing information with strategic suppliers using team sites, which would further reduce emails and increase efficiency.”
Locala Community Partnerships is an independent community interest company providing NHS services to over 400,000 people in Kirklees. Most services are delivered at patients’ homes and in local clinics, schools and health centres by teams of Locala health visitors, district nurses, therapists and other health professionals.
Locala needed to give clinicians fast access to critical documents on the move, and foster communications between distributed teams. All clinical documents, including guides for prescriptions and care delivery, must be up to date at all times.
The organisation deployed Interact’s intelligent intranet technology and a fleet of 4G smartphones. The Interact platform gives distributed team members a single point of access to key clinical information and systems, with a People Directory and blogging to increase collaboration internally.