At NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) we’re going through a major transformation programme. The key goal of this programme is to provide an improved care system for local people and expand the skills and capacity of primary care to improve the consistency and quality of outcomes.

The CCG is made up of 50 General Practices (GPs) that provide health and care services to patients registered in the Stockport area. Moving forward, the plan is to deliver more joined-up health and social care across the district. With people now living longer and having multiple health issues, we need to improve care for individuals by connecting their GP needs with their social care requirements and deliver more care out of hospitals and closer to home.

At the heart of the improvements to the care system for local residents is the need for intuitive and seamless collaboration among stakeholders. These include the CCG, Stockport Council, HealthWatch, foundation trust hospitals, mental health providers, ambulance services and the third sector. Although we use SharePoint to work together inside the CCG, sharing files and content with external agencies beyond the firewall was something beyond our current configuration of SharePoint. Even though we’re not sharing confidential patient data, we still need to be certain that any external collaboration is managed securely so this was another consideration when it came to how we approached working together with other parties.

I heard about Huddle on the technology grapevine and, with so many healthcare and other government agencies already using this cloud platform, I knew it was worth exploring further. After some exploratory research and a trial, we realised that Huddle was just what they needed to support secure, inter-agency collaboration on the transformation programme. The main benefits are the huge amount of time, money and effort Huddle is saving the CCG by centralising content in the cloud and giving everyone secure access to that content. The service is so intuitive, most people can use it with minimal training. Best of all, they can access the content through their mobile device. I generally prepare for meetings by checking papers on my tablet. For meetings I’m not formally part of I can be alerted to add comments to an item electronically and don’t need to attend. Experiences like this are great for people’s productivity.

Being able to access documents through our iPads and laptops via the shared workspaces has also helped the CCG to become increasingly paperless. For our Monday morning directors’ meetings, I use Huddle to read documentation on the go from my iPad and know that I have the latest version of the documents and a fast way to make comments ahead of the meeting. In fact, since using Huddle, I don’t think I’ve ever had to print off a set of paper notes.

Due to the fact everyone has their own way of working, I wanted to bring in a tool that would support this instead of changing the way people work completely. It’s about the person, the device and the nature of work. We are continuously thinking of other areas of the CCG that could benefit from Huddle, making sure that teams are using the service in the most productive way.

Paul Fleming, associate director of information management and technology at NHSStockport CCG

Paul Fleming has worked in technology for more than 15 years at IBM, ICI, Capita and the NHS. Within the NHS, Paul has worked across Merseyside and also Greater Manchester for PCTs, Shared Services, a CSU and currently works for Stockport CCG as an Associate Director. His 2011 MSc thesis on patient online access to records was used by the Department of Health to help inform national planning and Paul presented findings to the National IG Board. Paul regularly presents regionally and nationally on technology in healthcare.

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