Advancing Quality (AQ) is the flagship programme of the Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA), the health and care quality improvement body based in the North West of England.
AQ works with clinicians to provide NHS Trusts and partners with a set of quality standards to measure good practice against. By devising and implementing an agreed definition of good clinical practice, the programme helps to save lives, reduce re-admissions and decrease the length of time patients have to spend in hospital - in turn improving hospital capacity and reducing costs.
To achieve this, the organisation must collaborate with more than 30 NHS bodies, including hospitals and mental health services, as well as the commissioning groups responsible for service planning.
“Every single doctor, nurse, clinician and manager wants to do what is best for the patient, and with so many clinical guidelines to follow it’s essential to be able to measure progress and impact,” explains AQ Programme Director Lesley Kitchen. “This region serves seven million people, which requires robust management processes that suit all the different areas of health service delivery equally. By using data that is trusted by clinical staff, we are bringing communities together, understanding best practices, and highlighting where we need to focus effort.”
Before using Huddle, the team relied on e-mail to share content. However, as file sizes increased, this became impossible without clogging up people’s inboxes and losing control of versions. The AQ team recognised that they needed a secure cloud-based platform to save, share and organise all of their content, so that workers at each NHS Trust could easily find what they were looking for.
“There may be only one NHS, but it comprises different organisations with varying email, IT and intranet systems, and usage rules,” explains Lesley. “Before Huddle, we didn't have a central repository for all of our data—it was a nightmare!"
After extensive online research, and receiving a number of recommendations for Huddle, AQ realised the cloud-based collaboration platform ticked all the right boxes - offering the best platform to manage the programme’s data and unite disparate teams. The workspace functionality, better version control and ability to comment on documents made Huddle very appealing to the organization.
"Today, our content is securely managed in Huddle. We benefit from easy-to-use workspaces that unite teams and allow them to communicate and share in one place. We've seen a dramatic reduction in the number of version conflicts and miscommunications - something that plagued email," adds Lesley.
AQ has been using two key Huddle workspaces for the last four years. One offers a place for everyone in the programme to collaborate. From this workspace, clinicians with a specific focus, as well as those whose interests cross different areas of healthcare, can share information and ideas on best practice care. The second workspace is for the team who are responsible for co-ordinating AQ across the region.
“Huddle has been really important to us. Everyone can access Huddle on their desktops and smartphones, so debates and discussions happen with no loss of momentum, while content remains secure, and all activity is logged. Conversations and interactions are taking place today that just wouldn't have happened before Huddle," concludes Lesley. "Traditionally in the NHS, we had information silos that restricted what could be done, but Huddle removes those. Huddle is really valued by users as something that makes their lives easier, and it’s a really useful tool to help us deliver what we need to.”