Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest NHS trusts in the UK and has offered patient-centred healthcare to the North East of England and beyond for over 250 years. With 1.8 million patient contacts every year the trust needs a big workforce and as such is one of the largest employers in the NE with over 13,500 staff. Its aim is to deliver modern, high-quality healthcare, with people at the heart. In achieving this, the trust has been awarded outstanding by the Care Quality Commission for the second year in a row.
With such a large workforce in place, employees of the Trust need to be able to communicate easily and effectively. Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was using a variety of different communications platforms for video and audio conferencing, online collaboration, instant messaging and ad-hoc conferencing.
This variety of platforms led to user confusion over which solution should be used, and when they should be used. This resulted in reduced confidence in collaboration tools which some described as cumbersome and difficult to use, many people preferring to meet physically instead. This situation presented more problems as ageing equipment was costly for the service staff to maintain and IT resources were being used to help people with existing tools.
“We wanted to encourage people to use these services, but what we didn’t want is a whole array of different systems to manage and maintain,” explained Bob Beckwith, Infrastructure Manager, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust decided it needed to replace the plethora of tools being used for communication and collaboration with a secure, reliable, easy-to-use product, that could provide them with everything that was needed to enable simple communication in a single platform.
“Being a hospital, we are very conscious that the content shared within the collaboration tool would be around patients, would be about their care, and securing that information is absolutely critical."
After a period of evaluating the options available, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust decided on Microsoft Teams as its sole collaboration platform and TIEVA as the integrator. Microsoft Teams was already widely used for non-clinical communication and collaboration, it was therefore decided that extending its features and capabilities into the Trusts 40+ meeting environments was the most logical option.
“We have a number of use cases for video collaboration,” explained Bob. “Just to name a few. One is the major incident planning, and communication is absolutely key during those scenarios. We use it in IT, as priority 1 incident management. We have a fetal medicine service, which uses video collaboration extensively. We have British Sign Language interpreter services. MDTs, multi disciplinary teams, they have all now had room upgrades with multiple screens and MicrosoftTeams Rooms installed to help them with their conversations. We have a number of remote clinics outside the Trust with patients. So we now deliver that service remotely using Microsoft Teams, and for town hall type meetings, meetings with lots of participants.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, user adoption of video conferencing was steady. When the pandemic hit and everyone was looking at practicing social distancing, and working remotely where possible, the need to communicate when you’re not in the same physical room rocketed. We saw the usage escalate from, maybe, 2000 minutes a day to 65,000 minutes a day."
Since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the use of Microsoft Teams has remained high. It is now widely used across the Trust and has become integral for communication and collaboration with colleagues and patients.
Employees of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust now have the capability to seamlessly communicate and collaborate with ease and security, from any location, using Microsoft Teams for both clinical and non-clinical environments.
TIEVA is proud to have been selected as the trusted integrator for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's video collaboration, audio visual (AV), and meeting room technology. Our team of highly skilled communication technology experts and AV engineers always work meticulously to ensure every part of every project runs smoothly and with minimal disruption to the customer.