Verto Case Study: working with the West of England Academic Health Science Network

The West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) is one of 15 AHSNs set up by NHS England to deliver significant change in the way the health and care sector identifies, develops and adopts innovation.

The West of England AHSN says of its purpose: ‘We are catalysts, creating the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care communities, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for citizens.’

To meet this purpose they provide a range of support to the region’s health and social care sector. They help develop the very best care and experience for patients and the provision of best value services. Their priority has always been to involve their whole network, which includes all the NHS commissioners and providers and the universities of Bath, Bristol and the West of England.

The improvement West of England AHSN wants to make to its programme and project management

In March 2018, NHS England will renew it licenses for AHSNs. As part of this renewal process, the West of England AHSN wants to improve how it manages its projects.

The AHSN currently uses a paper-based system. And both their staff team and the projects they deliver are diverse. As a result, their projects are managed and reported on in different ways.

To improve this, the AHSN, in response to requests from its staff, is setting up a programme management office (PMO). The PMO team will develop consistent project management practices and support staff across the AHSN in delivering them.

As part of this change, the West of England AHSN knew they wanted to move to a cloud-based project management software system. They also wanted to be able to tailor the software to suit their specific needs and preferences. Having talked to other AHSNs and clinical commissioning groups about the software they use and their experiences with it, they chose Verto.

How we’re helping West of England AHSN deliver this improvement

We’re still in the early stages of working with West of England AHSN. Initially, we ran training with the new PMO team to show them how to configure Verto in line with their needs. They were then able to transfer their offline project data onto the new platform.

Once this build was nearly complete, we ran further training with the PMO so they can roll the system out to their wider staff team before it goes live in March 2018.

“It’s been challenging trying to build an online project management system that works for such a dynamic and varied organization such as ours. The Verto team has been a great support in our goal to introduce a system which gives a repository of information, supports our approach to reporting, and ultimately helps create the right culture to flourish in our delivery of some really ambitious projects across the West of England and further afield.”

Kevin Hunter, Patient Safety Programme Manager, West of England AHSN

The benefits West of England AHSN is expecting Verto to bring

The AHSN is expecting to see a number of benefits from their move to Verto.

Having one clear structure and a consistent approach to how they manage their projects will help them realize efficiencies and work smarter.

One of the ways they intend to work smarter is by using Verto’s instant messaging tool to cut down on the number of emails people in the project teams receive. Where appropriate, using messaging in place of email will make communication more timely and prevent threads getting lost in over-full inboxes.

Linked to this, Verto’s document store will allow the AHSN’s team to store all their project documents in one place. This will make it quick and easy for them to share information and find what they need. And Verto’s inbuilt document control tool means they will always be looking at the most up-to-date version of any file.

The AHSN have configured Verto to measure what they need. So with Verto’s clever reporting tools they can produce reports from the information they choose at the touch of a button. This is key as they need to report both internally and externally to NHS England.

Verto will give West of England AHSN a very clear and detailed view of all their projects. They intend to use this to hold people to account across the organization and improve governance at all levels. They also intend to use this robust data to give them an accurate understanding of what each project, and the different elements of each project, costs to deliver.

The West of England AHSN works in partnership with a number of organizations. Many of these organizations also use Verto. The AHSN is hoping that by using the same platform, partner organizations will be better able to report to each other, share best practice and further collaborate. This is something we are working closely on with a number of organizations nationally to help make happen.

Ultimately, West of England AHSN is expecting Verto to give them clear evidence and a historic record of the change they have delivered. They will use this to demonstrate their achievements, write case studies so they can share best practice and gain national recognition, in part by entering awards. This will help their work have a wider reach and greater impact.

To find out more about how Verto can help your health and care sector organization, please call us on 0844 870 8785 or message us here.