Case study: NICS
Transforming organisational learning to improve outcomes
Improving patient outcomes through data
North West Surrey Integrated Care Services (NICS), an innovative GP Federation founded in 2016, provides services on behalf of 38 GP practices in North West Surrey and provides healthcare support at scale to a community of about 380,000 people.
Marion Shipman, a clinician, and registered nurse joined the group as Head of Quality and Governance in August 2021. Having spent more than 30 years working for the NHS, Marion recognised opportunities for improvement and wanted to establish a centralised location for all quality and governance processes.
Since adopting Radar Healthcare, NICS has said goodbye to paper and is transitioning to a fully digital solution to really understand and use their data and give them complete oversight of the entire NICS Services.
Transforming from paper to digital systems
'When I joined the Federation, there were no digital quality and governance systems in place. Documents were emailed backwards and forwards between staff, with time spent following up actions and tasks manually. This was becoming incredibly arduous, taking up too much time and was not providing easy oversight of the various data. Time could be better spent elsewhere.'
'NICS recognised that there had to be better ways of working and making the most of its Federation status. There was a real appetite for better visibility of quality and governance information to enable our different sites to share their learnings – something which was being hindered by paper-based, manual processes.'
Tailored to precise requirements
NICS needed a solution that was accessible regardless of location, adaptable to the specific needs of various primary care services, and affordable.
'The Radar Healthcare team were excellent; it was more than just a sales pitch and a software demo. Terry Murphy, National Business Development Manager helped us with our internal business case and supported us throughout the process. Because he had experience of working with GP practices and primary care organisations, he understood our needs – slightly different to acute NHS organisations– and was able to tailor the system to exactly what we needed.'
NICS began its rollout of Radar Healthcare in March 2022, starting with the patient and staff feedback elements of the Events module. These included patient feedback after an appointment, complaints and concerns, compliments, and staff ‘excellence’ reporting.
Marion has worked closely with their Radar Healthcare project manager, Corrina Plant, who has been involved with the project since the beginning, to ensure the system does exactly what they need it to.
'There is very much a can-do attitude at Radar Healthcare, and they’re very responsive. If we want to try something they’ll test it and see if it works. The flexibility of the system means we’ve been really involved in making it bespoke to us. We’re able test everything before using it in the live system and even once we go live, if we find a bug, our customer success manager will find out why it’s not working for us and fix it. It’s a great working relationship.'
Making a difference one step at a time
Patient feedback is an area that NICS has been extremely proactive in; employing QR codes, flyers, and text services to obtain feedback after consultation, as well as obtaining comments from the general public. Within one month of Radar Healthcare being implemented, the number of feedback responses increased from 14 to 82 and now stands at approximately 500 each month – an increase of over 3,000%!
The customisable forms have made a significant difference because people can submit feedback from anywhere and at any time, including those who use the NICS home visiting service.
'Although getting patient feedback from the Urgent Treatment Centre has been more difficult – partly due to its close proximity to St Peter’s Hospital departments - we’re doing everything we can to increase feedback rates. At our Acute Illness Clinics, we updated our text alerts to provide a direct link to the feedback form which is sent to patients after they have attended their appointment. This small change resulted in a huge increase in submissions. We’ve also made the form available to the general public on our website in order to gather valuable comments about our services.'
The previous processes NICS used for collecting information were clunky and time-consuming, with limited processes in place to collect and learn from the data. With Radar Healthcare, NICS has been able to build bespoke forms that then collect and store the data within the system, meaning that everything is centralised and can feed into the same reporting dashboard. NICS can then share this directly with team members in their meetings to confirm lessons learned and agree on how these can be shared more widely. They have also been able to use the data and graphics to develop reports for wider sharing.
'Already, the modules we’ve rolled out have made a positive difference to our quality and governance procedures. We’ve had some amazing patient feedback, which is fantastic to hear as we have a really good culture of recognising outstanding work from our teams. There’s a real willingness to try new things and make changes when something isn’t quite right. The introduction of Radar has been really welcomed.'
NICS has now started to transform its approach to risk using the risk management module of Radar Healthcare. They have moved their manual risk spreadsheets into the system, and this is helping to manage risk right more effectively while providing learning which can be shared across the group.
Making insight actionable
One of the major benefits to the NICS team of working in partnership with Radar Healthcare is that they’re now able to keep all their data in one place rather than across multiple systems and with many different individuals. It means that learning from data is simplified and can be done directly through using Radar Healthcare rather than manually collating and triangulating data sets – a huge time saver.
'We’re exploring how data can better inform our decisions. To achieve this, we’re looking at the insights gained and how they can help us tell our patients’ stories. We’re also thinking about how we can proactively engage with our patients in ways that help, rather than simply being reactive to a problem or issue.'
A phased approach
NICS is still in the process of rolling out the different Radar Healthcare modules, with auditing and scheduled tasks next on the agenda. The Document Management module has now been fully implemented and NICS is benefiting from bringing three different document storage systems into one place. This means that anyone across NICS who has access to Radar Healthcare can easily retrieve policies and procedures, helping with standardisation across the Federation and general version control.
'It’s up to an organisation whether they implement Radar Healthcare as a ‘big bang’ or gradually – “module by module”. For us, we found that we benefited from the gradual approach as this helped us to keep everyone in the organisation engaged and to gain confidence in using a small number of modules at one time, before being introducing the next. The gradual approach also worked for us as a small organisation, enabling us to plan the implementation around the operational commitments of relevant clinical staff. The Radar Healthcare team has been extremely helpful in supporting us with this.'
What’s next for NICS?
With the help of their customer success manager, NICS is looking forward to making the most of the data, and further developing meaningful reporting to improve their overall services.
They’re already seeing great results, but the next step is to understand the trends and themes across the services provided by the Federation using Radar Healthcare’s analytics module which links together all the data input to pull out the learning. This is where we can work together to make a real difference in healthcare outcomes for their patients.
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