Overcoming remote working challenges in the NHS

Collaboration and remote working in the NHS and Healthcare

The transfer of knowledge between the NHS practices and CCGs is vital for the running of a successful healthcare system. CCGs run hospitals and GP surgeries across England and in charge of buying services to fit the need of the populations they serve, they are governed by an elected group of GPs, doctors, surgeons and members of the public. The varied and complex work they oversee means there is a vast amount of documents, PDFs and reports that are being sent and shared between many practices. This information is highly sensitive, potentially containing many patients personal information, meaning it’s vital that these are shared securely.

The announcement earlier this year that the NHS approved to create the biggest single Clinical Commissioning Group by merging Birmingham and Solihull left many members of the public concerned about the quality of their healthcare practices and their ability to receive the same joined up care they did before. The announcement follows a string of CCG mergers and moves by other CCGs to share chief executive boards, with two larger groups combining resources Bracknell, Wokingham and Reading, Berkshire.

But why are so many CCGs merging? There are three reasons said to underline the mergers. One is cutting costs through shared leadership. NHS England’s month nine financial performance report highlights the difficult position faced by CCGs. For example the CCGs have reported year to date overspends of £471 million. This is just the tip of the iceberg when you then begin to factor in issues such as the amount of staff members that are being underpaid to work additional hours. On top of this, there are ranges of issues that impact CCG’s financial positions such as difficulties in obtaining cheaper versions of drugs with the attempt to save a few pennies. The most crucial financial problem that CCGs are fare facing is the slippage of their often very ambitious saving plans. By over promising figures that are unattainable CCGs are finding themselves in very hot water with not only the government but also the public.

Another reason for multiple CCGs merging is that they are preparing for the development of accountable care systems, which are planned to increase sustainability. As CCGs and their partners develop new care models, concerns have been raised about the governance of new working methods. Many relate to responsibilities that sit between the organisations involve. As integration takes place across other areas, CCG Audit Committees should consider how they develop their new relationships to ensure integrated commissioning arrangements are poroperly considered by all parties. In particular, issues including risk, conflict of interest and fraud prevention controls. It is vital that all meetings are being documented in a way that encourages collaboration through voting, shared annotations and decisions. With so many people now working together across a large area span, there is a vital need for good governance.

With this in mind it leads onto the third and final reason, the transformation partnerships and in some cases, replacing unsuccessful CCG regimes. With some mergers spanning across entire county’s there will be people sporadically working at different times and in different locations. The vast majority of other CCGs have set up shared management teams and innovative structures to help tackle the issues they face. Shared management structures have many advantages, including knowledge being shared and having an enhanced skill base, however, achieving joint working will not be easy and as eShare is based in Newbury headquarters, we find the Berkshire merger particularly interesting, given the large area that will now be operating together as one body.

eShare have developed MeetingSquared with the aim to bring an end to inefficient meeting preparation, scheduling and management. It allows the organiser to keep a record of all meetings and a copy of the agenda is stored along with all supporting documents, along with a record of any actions notes and minutes taken during the meeting. There has never been a more crucial time for CCG’s to show an audit trail and take responsibility for their compliance.

With The Department of Health and Social Care agreeing a deal with Microsoft that will enable all NHS organisations to use Windows 10 there has never been a better time to start thinking of how technology can enable better meeting management and MeetingSquared includes Microsoft Outlook integration. Users can book meetings within Outlook allowing the user to make sure all invitees are free. Each attendee can then access all relevant supporting documentation for the meeting via their tablet device stopping the endless reams of papers. MeetingSquared also encourages collaboration between meeting members with its annotation features, which can be kept private or shared, decisions and assigned actions, which can all be emailed to participants after the meeting as finished. We already have many organisations within the NHS using our products to help run their meetings more effectively.

If you would like to know more information about MeetingSquared or any of our products please contact us info@eshare.net or call us on 08452 007 829