Finding a more inclusive way of working is never easy in healthcare. There are critical data security issues to consider, you need to ensure seamless collaboration outside the perimeter of the medical practise and preferably support mobile content collaboration. In this Huddle case study, we explore how The Coleridge Medical Centre in the UK is introducing secure, inter-agency collaboration that is driving productivity and enhanced patient outcomes.

Meet the Coleridge Medical Centre

The Coleridge Medical Centre is a busy, dynamic health practice located in the historic UK market town of Ottery St Mary. It offers modern, comprehensive and holistic medical care and is the largest doctor’s practice in Devon, serving approximately 16,500 patients.

The Centre is one of the largest doctor’s practice in Devon, employing 13 doctors, 60 support staff and caring for more than 16,000 patients. Communications across a practice of this size can be challenging and although NHS Mail provides a communications solution in the form of secure email, Dr Alex Long, a partner at the practice, felt that there must be another way of streamlining communications between the doctors and support staff.

Setting goals to improve communications

Alex Long commented: “One of our goals as a partnership is to try and involve all stakeholders in decisions and to find a more inclusive way of working. As a group of doctors we are all strong personalities and can sometimes forget about the valuable perspective support staff can offer when it comes to making decisions.”

Alex, who looks after the IT infrastructure at the medical centre, is a self-professed early adopter. He began looking into cloud-based services that could offer a way to ensure that the more than 60 staff could improve their communications and streamline processes. In addition, some of the staff—particularly the doctors—work outside office hours from home.

Consequently, being able to securely access documents on multiple devices is a vital component of any tool they use. Huddle was chosen because of its high level security but also because it worked across both PC and Mac formats. Many of the doctors have Mac computers at home and therefore other solutions were immediately discounted.

How Huddle streamlines internal & external collaboration

Since implementing Huddle across the practice, Alex has seen a transformation in the way the staff work together. Previously, there was a tendency for staff to revert to the leaders of the medical centre to solve a problem. However, by communicating via Huddle, the staff now work together to solve problems without any senior involvement. Although now not directly involved with some of the problem solving, Alex still has the benefit of maintaining a bird’s eye view on such decisions.

“The collaborative approach to working is saving the practice a great deal of time. Not only are we are all working together more effectively, but some tasks which used to take up unnecessary time have become much easier. Previously, checking over minutes from meetings and approving these could be a laboured process with 13 doctors involved—now we approve them between meetings using Huddle.”

He continues, “Proving ROI for an implementation like Huddle can be a challenge in healthcare. However, all the doctors in the practice want to cut down on administrative time, to dedicate more time to seeing patients, and Huddle is certainly helping us achieve that.”

Alex is a champion for Huddle and is now encouraging its use across the Primary Care Trust. The practice works closely with consultants at the nearby hospital, so encouraging them to use Huddle to share information and improve the ‘pathway of care’ is his first priority. Longer term, Alex sees Huddle and services like it as the way forward for the NHS and hopes to be part of pioneering this movement.

John Furneaux


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