This post was written by Nick Saalfeld.
Cloud2 is one of the healthcare specialists in the Microsoft Partner Network, and we have talked about their ‘Hadron’ suite of SharePoint deployment methodologies before on this blog. In brief, the logic of Hadron is that:
Cloud2’s main offering is therefore called Hadron 8020, referring to the fact that their healthcare-preconfigured SharePoint offering is 80% ready, with:
A typical Cloud2 SharePoint installation is deployed in just 8 weeks.
A new deployment by Cloud2 at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust shows why it’s worth revisiting SharePoint in the healthcare context. NSFT provides child and adult mental health services, substance misuse and learning disability services across Norfolk and Suffolk. The Trust treats around 40,000 service users in any given year. It also works in partnership with a network of stakeholders such as other NHS and third-sector agencies.
NSFT’s situation reflected challenges that practically all trusts face:
This description is no doubt bang in the centre of the NHS IT bell curve. Trusts need to see more results from fast deployments of discrete IT solutions. Cloud2 director, Taran Sohal, says “Reconfiguration, the drive for efficiencies and limitations on the technologies they can use – these are endemic challenges. Plus, as some recent events we’ve run have shown, trusts don’t talk to each other enough to share problems or, better still, solutions.”The outcome for NSFT was a new intranet deployment, delivered in just 7 weeks. The first phase release went live in January 2013, and included:
Leigh Welch, Systems Manager at NSFT says, “Hadron has simplified the delivery for us. One of the problems historically has been that it’s hard to get to the end point of SharePoint projects because of a lack of visualisation of what the product is and what it can do- and hence a lack of buy-in. Hadron has given us that head start in that users can get a tangible feel for how it’s going to make their lives easier very early in the project lifecycle.”
However, by putting foresight above firefighting (and with an extensible information architecture), NSFT is extracting ever more value from their investment. Far from being just an intranet, the solution now includes websites for Norfolk Recovery Partnership and the Norfolk and Suffolk Wellbeing services. A ‘Professionals Portal’ is being planned to allow GPs to access targeted content and collaborate with the Trust, as well as being able to make referrals via an integrated referral form.
“We see SharePoint as a strategic platform and a strategic enabler for the Trust”, says Welch. “We’re looking to expand its use through streamlining clinical processes and collaboration via professional and service-user portals. We want a doctor referring to our services to be able to log on to the professional portal; use the information contained there to make an informed diagnosis and then get signposted to the right referral route into our service. Then, our team can use the information supplied in the referral to triage the service user and align to the correct care pathway.” Sohal sees these portals as a clear vision of the future for SharePoint, where users see a simple, friendly interface irrespective of location, device or situation: “As technology evolves and business needs develop, it’s evident that the once clear distinctions between intranets, internet sites and extranets are blurring.”
In a post-implementation survey, user satisfaction with navigation in the new intranet is already up from 27% to 51%; but the real satisfaction lies in a consistent user interface for an ever-increasing raft of genuinely useful and time-saving services; with the participation of users at each step of the way. Welch says, “SharePoint isn’t a technology project – it’s a business change project. The key to buy in is making users’ lives easier. The Hadron process has given us real user stories – people in other organisations who have faced the same challenges as we have; and who are using solutions which we can use too. Being able to visualise that, along with a rapid prototyping process which means you can always see the end point of the process, makes it much easier to sell to clinicians than vague promises and endless development lifecycles.”
Taran adds, “NSFT’s approach is successful because instead of buying into SharePoint, the product, they have bought into SharePoint as a solution – an application of technology to all sorts of NHS challenges, many of which are beyond the traditional intranet. When you know what you want and appreciate the extensibility and breadth of SharePoint in advance, you can get much more bang for your buck, and still without the pain of a deployment from scratch”. The NSFT experience shows that SharePoint’s scalability makes it an ideal platform for rolling out these services incrementally, and that its reputation for big-budget/big-bang is unjustified. It’s entirely workable to identify appropriate challenges and efficiencies in a step-by-step roadmap, and even extract some return on investment at each point along the way.”
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