Verto- Supporting Integrated Care Systems(ICS)
NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is one of 195 CCGs across England responsible for the commissioning of healthcare services for its local area and is a key partner in the Cheshire East Integrated Care Partnership which is joining up the area’s health and social care services. The CCG’s vision of “inspiring better health and wellbeing’ underpins the decisions it makes for the population of Eastern Cheshire.
Each CCG must assess its local needs, decide on its priorities and buy appropriate services, responding to ever-changing needs, in order to do so. CCGs have to regularly report on their plans and progress to NHS England, to their local Health and Wellbeing Board and to the public in their area. Their success is measured on how much they improve outcomes.
NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG serves a population of about 206,000 and has an annual budget of around £280m to spend on services. The CCG is made up
of 23 GP practices from five GP locality areas which work together to secure high-quality, high-value healthcare that meets the needs of their local population in the main areas of Alderley Edge, Bollington, Chelford, Congleton, Disley, Handforth, Holmes Chapel, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Poynton and Wilmslow.
What NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG wanted to achieve
The backdrop to NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG’s operations was a challenging if not unusual one. Its Financial Plan forecast an annual deficit of approximately £15m and, to balance the budget, there was a strong drive to deliver Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention schemes to achieve £9.4m of savings. The CCG identified that its Programme Management Office (PMO) approach required redesigning as projects had previously been managed using a combination of Microsoft Project, Word documents, spreadsheets and email. Version control was problematic and, even though there was a shared drive in use, there was no visibility on who was working on which version. Similarly, reporting was laborious and, although the CCG had developed an in-house database, it still required manual data collation from multiple sources in order to produce the reporting required, which was hugely time consuming.
The CCG recognised that it needed a Cloud-based approach for its programme and project management in order to deliver:
- Ease of use
- Collaborative working
- Version control and visibility of updates
- Easy and accurate reporting to enable planning with confidence and deliver efficiency savings.
Importantly, Eastern Cheshire wanted a tool that allowed it to get the most out of its collaborative PMO working across all four CCGs in Cheshire on proposals to establish a single commissioner and two Integrated Care Partnerships (ICP).
We started working with NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG and, within eight weeks, Verto was fully configured to its requirements, with reports designed
for stakeholders. Verto was built in line with how the CCG works, mirroring its workflow and processes, and able to see all its project data and documentation in one place. Once the CCG build was complete, we undertook the second stage of joining up Eastern Cheshire with its neighbouring CCGs: South Cheshire, Vale Royal and West Cheshire using the powerful functionality of VertoGrid. This created a Cheshire-wide network of CCGs, providing each CCG with a customised version of Verto. Crucially, joint projects can now be shared and, for the first time, all the project information across multiple sites can be aggregated into a single report.
Working with the Verto team has been brilliant – they have such a great ‘can do’ attitude. They are so responsive, listening to our ideas and challenges and finding solutions so the system really works for us.
One of the key factors in choosing Verto was that it was in use at NHS West Cheshire CCG so we could see in detail how it was working and how good it was. West Cheshire were very impressed with the system and support.
In particular, we could see how using VertoGrid would enable us to run programmes and reports cross-organisationally whilst retaining all the individual configuration of our own system. For us this was the best of both worlds and, combined with its ease of use and depth of functionality, it wasn’t a difficult decision.Adam McClure, PMO Manager for NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG
The benefits NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG is seeing
Verto provides a structured approach to establishing and managing a project, making it easy for people to follow project management best practice.
Eastern Cheshire particularly liked the fact that Verto was simple to use, with a clear dashboard that made it easy to see all its project information in one place. The CCG had instant visibility of its project performance and the ability to generate high-quality reports, including its Board Assurance Framework, with one click of a button.
The Cloud-based system, coupled with the VertoGo App, gives CCG staff and stakeholders ‘on the go’ access to their data, supporting collaboration and flexible working. Verto also gives individual commissioning managers and the PMO a bird’s-eye view of their projects meaning they can manage risk, and monitor and report on projects in a much more robust way.
One of the mainstays of Verto is its ease of use. One of our managers is a bit of a technophobe and she sent an email round to everyone marvelling at how easy it is to use. For us as well, the user interface was a major selling point – we just found it so easy to navigate aroundAdam McClure, PMO Manager for NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG
The time saving benefit to the PMO has been significant: reporting processes that used to take more than a week are now completed in less than a day, and having all their project information in one place has produced a noticeable saving in time spent on PMO admin. The PMO is now working on integrating Verto as a ‘business as usual’ tool across the wider organisation, and the information coming out of the system is enabling it to plan and track savings and benefits more accurately. Verto gives the PMO reliable and current data so it can measure progress and outcomes more accurately, and plan with more confidence.
Adam added that an unexpected benefit is that Verto has demonstrated the versatility to be used outside the standard project management functionality. The flexibility of the build options has meant that it has been possible to create an area within the system to record and manage the CCG’s corporate risks, saving the need to maintain a different system.
We continue to support and work with NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG as it introduces new programmes of work and develops new practices. The CCG is collaborating on a number of projects with South Cheshire, Vale Royal and West Cheshire CCGs, and is using VertoGrid as the project management and collaboration tool for this, making it easier to manage resources, share information and report on outcomes.