Providing a collaborative environment that allows healthcare professionals to work together, and also encourages educational discussions, can seem like a distant dream for many professionals. At Advancing Quality (AQ), we are one part of the NHS that is no longer chasing this dream, thanks to Huddle.

AQ is the flagship programme of the Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA), the healthcare quality improvement body for the North West of England. We are constantly working with clinicians to provide NHS Trusts with a set of practicable quality standards to measure good practice against and that are proven to help save lives.

Many forget that the NHS overarches many services and smaller organisations, each with its own varying email, IT and intranet systems and usage rules, creating an even bigger barrier to effective collaboration. We provide support across the entire North West of England, which includes over 30 NHS trusts from all manner of NHS services, including hospitals and mental health services on the provision side, as well as the commissioning groups responsible for services planning. As you can imagine, with this number of stakeholders and communication styles, sharing information and inputting into shared documents was no easy task!

For years, we relied primarily on e-mail to share content, during which time file sizes and email volumes have increased enormously, making effective sharing of content practically impossible. And, of course, we also needed to ensure that information was sent securely, which email sometimes isn’t.

Clearly, this was stunting involvement in collaborative discussions. The core team therefore recognised that they needed to find an easy-to-use workspace to create a central repository for our information, remove the version issues that email creates and help each NHS Trust to easily retrieve and share information. The workspace also needed to be secure so that confidential and sensitive information was safe. After extensive research, we realised Huddle ticked all the right boxes. They not only provided the best platform to manage the programme’s data securely, but could also help us to unite disparate teams.

And that, as they say, was the start of a great partnership – or should I say, collaboration! We have integrated Huddle into our working lives for the last four years. Huddle has provided a place for everyone in the programme to collaborate easily. Our stakeholders now have Huddle on their desktops and smartphones and we’ve found that the combination of accessibility and ease of use has led to people participating in conversations where they wouldn’t have before. And the more we collaborate and share ideas, the better our healthcare quality improvements will be.

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