The general election may have come and gone, but the recently reformed structure of the health service remains under heavy scrutiny. Around the country, many CCGs face the twin challenge of navigating difficult financial conditions while redesigning clinical service delivery to better suit patients.
Despite this challenging environment, examples of successful CCG-led change are shining through - as demonstrated by the three case studies included in the NHSCC's A CCG Guide: Engaging the public in difficult decisions about health service change. The progress made by these projects provides a welcome counterpoint to the more gloomy recent headlines surrounding CCGs - including the news that 19 CCGs ended the 2014-15 financial year in deficit.
At Kahootz, we're passionate about the potential for CCGs to access more efficient and effective ways of working by collaborating in the cloud. For two examples of what cloud tools can do for CCGs, we need look no further than the two cases mentioned above - the challenge of public engagement and the ongoing battle to stay out of the red.
Supporting public stakeholder engagement
The NHSCC guide offers some advice for CCGs that need to involve the local population in potentially difficult decisions about service reconfiguration. Focusing on recent transformation projects that took place in East Sussex, Greater Manchester and Worcestershire, it attempts to draw lessons from each one.
The spokespeople at each CCG stressed the importance of directly engaging with the public (in the case of the Manchester CCGs, that meant visiting local markets and partnering with a radio station to spread their messages). However, another interesting conclusion was the need for local clinicians and councillors to work closely together in order to develop an understanding of the issues alongside the public engagement work.
A cloud collaboration tool may not be able to replicate the impact of handing out flyers, making media announcements and meeting people face to face. However, it can provide a secure platform for clinicians and other officials from a wide area such as Greater Manchester to pool expertise and discuss the responses to that engagement activity.
Simon Angelides, former director of the Worcestershire service reconfiguration programme examined in the NHSCC guide, said a significant amount of time should be dedicated to redesigning services because it is impossible to win the trust of public stakeholders overnight. However, financial pressures often mean the discussion around potentially wide-ranging changes is rushed - disengaging people in the process. This leads us on to the second case for CCGs and cloud collaboration…
At the end of May, it was revealed that financial recovery plans were being implemented for the 19 CCGs that ended the year with a deficit. This came shortly after NHS Bedfordshire CCG was found to be running a total deficit of £43 million.
The challenges facing CCGs are well-documented in this area, and of course cloud collaboration tools do not present a complete solution. However, they can significantly reduce and streamline IT costs for CCGs, particularly when several groups need to collaborate across a large region. Unlike on-premise systems, the cloud is quick to deploy and immediately responsive to shifts in usage requirements.
Using a central platform to share documents and host discussions can also significantly reduce costs for CCGs by removing duplication of effort - it provides a single version of each document, one central place for all users to access the files they need and an accessible workspace for working on key documents - the process of drafting, collecting comments, approvals and publication.
Several CCGs are already in Kahootz and reaping the benefits of cloud collaboration. If you belong to this specialist group of healthcare users, download our free guide to find out more about how collaboration tools can benefit your organisation.