With such a large workforce in place, employees of the Trust need to be able to communicate easily and effectively. Until recently, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was using a variety of different communications platforms for video and audio conferencing, online collaboration, instant messaging and ad-hoc conferencing.
This variety of platforms led to user confusion over which solution should be used, and when they should be used. This resulted in reduced confidence in collaboration tools which some described as cumbersome and difficult to use, many people preferring to meet physically instead. This situation presented more problems as ageing equipment was costly for the service staff to maintain and IT resources were being used to help people with existing tools.
“We wanted to encourage people to use these services, but what we didn’t want is a whole array of different systems to manage and maintain,” explained Bob Beckwith, Infrastructure Manager, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust decided it needed to replace the plethora of tools being used for communication and collaboration with a secure, reliable, easy-to-use product, that could provide them with everything that was needed to enable simple communication in a single platform.
“Being a hospital, we are very conscious that the content shared within the collaboration tool would be around patients, would be about their care, and securing that information is absolutely critical."
After a period of evaluating the options available, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chose StarLeaf as its collaboration platform and Prodec Networks as the integrator.
“StarLeaf ticked all of the boxes. They are in the HSCN Cloud, which allows us to be confident that the information is being held within the UK, under HSCN terms and conditions. The transmission of the data to the HSCN Cloud is also secure. The other thing that was very important to us was reliability. StarLeaf offer 99.999% uptime and this was a key factor in choosing them.
“We have a number of use cases for StarLeaf,” explained Bob. “Just to name a few. One is the major incident planning, and communication is absolutely key during those scenarios. We use it in IT, as priority 1 incident management. We have a fetal medicine service, which uses StarLeaf extensively. We have British Sign Language interpreter services, which was an existing system that used StarLeaf. MDTs, multidisciplinary teams, they have all now had room upgrades with multiple screens and StarLeaf installed to help them with their conversations. We have a number of remote clinics outside the Trust with patients. So we now deliver that service remotely using StarLeaf, and for town hall type meetings, meetings with lots of participants.