NHS IT chiefs set the stage for a year of digital transformation as Digital Health Rewired returns to London
Mid Cheshire NHS Trust Improve Patient Care with Microsoft, Lenovo and IT Orchestration by CDW™
Mid Cheshire NHS Trust’s ageing IT estate was causing significant problems. Amy Freeman, the Trust’s Associate Director of IT, identified a number of challenges that needed to be addressed when she joined the organisation in 2016.
More than half of the Trust’s 2,500 desktop devices were over 10 years old. In many cases, staff were waiting around 20-25 minutes to log in each day, and sometimes up to 40 minutes. A large number of staff were either opening their clinics later or coming into work early to start up their machines. Even when booted up, many of the devices were slow, which again took time away from patient care.
As part of a business case for IT transformation, a calculation based on the average salary of desktop users showed that around £942,000 worth of ‘unproductive’ time was being wasted each year due to the length of time it took for users to log-in and related device usage issues. It was estimated that staff at the Trust were spending around 273 hours per day waiting to gain access to their desktop.
Details of appointments were written on paper, causing an unserviceable surge in demand for a limited number of desktops at the end of the day when they returned to type up their notes.
As part of the business case it was estimated that, on average, each team member could undertake an additional two patient visits per day.
Consultants at the Trust were experiencing similar challenges, having only fixed desktops in their offices and clinics and no remote working capability. The need to enable greater flexibility was clear.
A further challenge was also the Trust’s email system, which had been running from an on-premise exchange since 2010. NHS Digital required organisations to migrate either to the NHS email platform or adopt an external service accredited to the email security standard DCB1596. The NHS option required mailboxes to meet a new size limit, with charges applied for going above this limit.
The adoption of Microsoft Office 365 was identified as a clear pathway to improving the user experience, strengthening security, enabling mobility, supporting collaboration and reducing day-to-day IT management pressures on the internal team. The CDW Software Team ran a licensing workshop with the Trust to help identify the most suitable options, then managed the deployment of software and migration of user accounts.
Unable to replace all devices at once, Amy worked with CDW to develop a business case to replace those over 10 years old. A Device as a Service (DaaS) solution delivered by CDW enabled the Trust to establish a new five-year refresh cycle to strengthen future proofing.
A series of drop-in sessions with associated questionnaires enabled staff at the Trust to test a range of devices from various technology partners. Lenovo was identified as having the best combination of technical performance and cost-effectiveness for the Trust’s needs.
“We tested a selection of devices that would be most suitable for our needs, and through an online questionnaire, Lenovo was rated the highest for performance as well as cost-effectiveness,” says Amy. “Lenovo’s Yoga convertible tablets were really popular. Feedback from staff at the Trust using them has been very positive.”
Working closely with the Trust’s IT team, CDW’s configuration centre handled imaging and asset tagging of the new Lenovo devices, managed the migration of mailboxes and even took responsibility for the WEEE compliant disposal of old devices. CDW’s Microsoft Adoption team also provided e-learning courses and collateral to support user enablement training.
To facilitate ongoing support and reduce internal help desk calls, the Trust also utilises CDW’s managed services to support its users with any device related issues. This includes; 24x7x365 service desk access, 1st and 2nd line support, 3rd line vendor management with a swap-out service and guarantees the replacement of faulty devices the same or next business day, depending on the priority of the incident.
Throughout the duration of the Trust’s contract, an aligned Service Delivery Manager at CDW frequently provides reports, highlighting common issues where tickets are being logged via the Service Desk. Once any issues have been identified, the Service Delivery Manager works with the Trust collaboratively to help streamline the service via CDW’s own Continual Service Improvements Plan. (CISP)
As soon as the deployment project began, a number of positive results emerged and there has been a direct impact on levels of patient care. Logging onto the new devices takes less than a minute and staff are reported to be undertaking more appointments per day.
Amy says: “We previously used a token-based VPN solution for email. By moving to Office 365 we have taken away 60 to 70% of tokens, enabling staff to access emails on a phone or tablet at home. There are still elements of O365 to implement and we plan to exploit more of its capabilities in the future.”
“One of the great strengths of CDW is that I can call my Account Director at any time and he will do his very best to resolve an issue,” says Amy. “His flexibility and dedication is something I value very highly. Where other problems have arisen, they have been resolved quickly and without any fuss.”