St George’s has come a very long way in terms of healthcare and distance since its 1733 founding in Hyde Park Corner with just 30 beds over three floors. Today, with over 1000 beds, offering A&E, maternity and elderly care, this Tooting landmark is one of the UK’s largest hospitals and continues to provide excellence in patient care.
Like many hospitals, St George’s had been going through a series of IT challenges over recent years, and knew it had to do something radical in order to halt what was essentially becoming a reactionary IT service. They also knew that their users were struggling with various aspects of the Trust’s IT, particularly with poor equipment performance, restricted device availability and limited remote access. Each of these fuelling increased user dissatisfaction, as expectations of an ‘always-on’ and ‘connected’ experience remained unavailable, provoking a ‘bottom-up’ push of consumerisation.
Resolving business pressures was equally urgent. Increasing the efficiency of the clinical and business processes, plus ensuring that the infrastructure provides safe, high quality clinical care was also paramount. Finally, from an IT perspective, the need to improve resiliency and simplify the desktop management process further justified the need for change.
To achieve such demanding requirements, St George’s needed to look beyond IT itself and focus on what their users wanted and were doing, where the Trust was heading strategically, and what cultural changes were also occurring.
The new IT vision enabled an important ‘step change’ to help the Trust grow and transform, with IT being fully in-line with the business objectives, rather than just following. The first stage was to implement an innovative platform offering a user experience that was as simple, elegant, and as flexible as possible. Wireless was to be the default service, putting roaming and mobile content consumption to the fore.
Stage two set about delivering consistency of service – regardless of device or location – providing information and data in an efficient, meaningful and very secure manner.
The final stage involved ensuring that the network was resilient and robust, laying the right foundations for ongoing clinical services, with IT facilitating staff and clinicians to operate as ‘paper-light’ as possible.
Combining a range of leading vendor products, a re-vitalised data centre and mobility solution with improved, more secure wireless and remote access capabilities, the Trust has been able to deliver a highly scalable and pioneering platform for its users today and in the future.
St George’s chose Block as a partner for several reasons; although the Trust knew what it wanted, it needed a partner who had the skills and expertise it lacked, knew the NHS sector well and shared the same vision.
Block’s approach of working in real partnership with the Trust, taking ownership and being accountable for proper delivery, in a flexible and responsive manner was equally assuring.
With the new solution in place, the Trust is seeing real improvements in how clinicians and other staff are experiencing and providing clinical care. This is particularly evident in terms of how clinical mobility is changing behaviour and also towards healthcare’s drive to become less paper reliant.
Perhaps the best evidence is that users are demanding it, and not having it imposed upon them. The network is stable and resilient, providing a consistent desktop experience whether in the office, the ward, at a clinic or other facility or even outside of the Trust.
It’s one of the times that we feel IT has truly worked with the organisation to improve business and clinical practice.Kerman Jasavala, Deputy Director of IT
Having a partner that believed in our vision, with the same passion for using technology to improve healthcare services as we did, was of significant importance to usKerman Jasavala, Deputy Director of IT