Inefficiency is the ever-looming bogeyman of the NHS, acting as a terrifying threat that will destroy the organisation (although some would even question if it’s there at all). “We must be more efficient!” cry the politicians, as they slash budgets in a an attempt to starve the fever of NHS excess. The truth is, however, that a bloated budget only does so much to create wasteful or unnecessary process. The true creator of bureaucracy and bloat is a much less tangible metric: innovation.
We’ve all had to deal with red tape at some point in our lives, whether at our own work or when working with huge organisations. The larger the company, the faster the disconnect between departments and the greater the breakdown in process. In a world as connected and simplified as the digital revolution has made it, this simply won’t do.
The Steering report has recently made it very clear to clinicians that keeping their systems offline is an inefficient and unacceptable system and it’s not hard to see why. Departments in large organisations like the NHS have to be able to communicate effectively, and to make the most of digital technology to create a process that’s slick and easy.
This reflects a larger problem with the NHS’ approach to technology. Currently, many Trusts have tied their elearning into a rigid, proprietary training system that doesn’t reflect the ease-of-use required in the role and is disconnected from the rest of the HR systems. If it were to move into a model whereby trusts could tie their training to the HR-management systems and centralise the information, but not force all trusts into the same rigid formulas, significant savings could be made.
This is a best of both worlds scenario, control over content and delivery, but consistent, instant tracking, feeding into whatever systems it needs to. Staff can be instantly upgraded to competencies without the need of a 3rd party to verify. Not only that, but the systems will notify each other of necessary updates, keeping staff in their regular compliance loops without the need to check.
By integrating systems you can communicate more efficiently, and this even leaves open the options to add features such as social learning, giving staff a common place to share their knowledge and experiences without having to disrupt each other during work time. It provides an online space that can be expanded to as many trusts and hospitals as appropriate, and even work independently of other systems while feeding information back on who is contributing well to the HR systems.
Interconnectivity will remove layers of admin, create a better communications network and encourage employees to work together regardless of distance or occupation. Inefficiency has a greater impact with disparate systems. By combining and sharing, a leaner, more effective (and less costly), NHS can overcome its straw-man opponent and become the service everyone knows it can be.
Webanywhere has worked with NHS Hospitals and Trusts to deliver this integratable, flexible systems. To see how we did it with UCLH check out the case study