UCLH (University College London Hospital National Health Service Foundation Trust) is situated in the heart of London. It is one of the largest National Health Service (NHS) Trusts in the UK, and one of the first to be established. UCLH provides academically-linked acute and specialist services to people from across England and Wales and abroad, helping more than a million patients every year. Its mission is to deliver top-quality patient care, excellent education and world-class research. As a Foundation Trust, UCLH can manage its own budgets and shape the services it provides to better reflect the needs and priorities of patients and local community.
UCLH properties are the responsibility of the Trust’s Capital Investment arm, which manages the construction and maintenance of capital assets such as buildings and highly specialised medical equipment. Coordinating these projects involves sharing large volumes of plans and files among the project teams, and this is where Huddle has become invaluable.
Olivia Mulholland is the Construction Contractor and Information Manager at UCLH, managing the approved contractors and framework designers across all the Trust’s sites. “Traditionally we had used email to share information around the project teams, but with the increasing number of people involved, and the size and number of files, distribution of materials was proving challenging,” confirmed Mulholland. “As is often the case when relying on email, it was also extremely difficult to keep track of which was the current version of a given file.”
In particular, the email system was very slow in transferring the multi-MB CAD (Computer Aided Design) and BIM (Building Information Modelling) files. Beyond just a size issue, the project teams also needed to be able to work on these files simultaneously in order to share edits and comments, and teams frequently lacked confidence that the versions they were working on were the most up to date.
“With Huddle, we can now access and share large files very easily, and the version control means that everyone is absolutely sure that they are seeing the correct information.” said Mulholland.
With Huddle, complete and detailed records are created for all project activity, with automatic audit trails for each document. These are particularly important in the construction sector, for example in the disposal of asbestos where regulatory compliance requires the auditable adherence to specific processes.
The Huddle activity and approvals functions are also critical, as project managers can see instantly who has accessed the project files, and when. The data is securely logged, and available to support any legitimate requests for specific project information from both inside and outside UCLH.
One of the largest projects currently underway within UCLH is the creation of the high energy proton beam therapy (PBT) centre. PBT is an advanced form of radiotherapy used to treat certain types of cancers, and is particularly suitable for complex childhood cancers and other hard-to-treat cancers. Currently, PBT treatment is only available outside the UK, but in 2015 the government announced an investment of £250 million to develop two UK PBT centres, one at UCLH and one at The Christie Clinic in Manchester`. There are some 40 members of the PBT centre construction team who use the dedicated Huddle workspace to help coordinate the project, share and edit documents and design files and support team-wide collaboration. The UCLH centre is expected to be operational in 2019.
As well as the project-specific workspaces such as for the PBT, the UCLH team has set up a general workspace for all users that will become the central destination for all departmental policies and procedures. Each new employee or contractor is directed to this workspace, where they can see all the relevant company information for all areas, such as Health and Safety and Human Resources.
“The greatest benefits of Huddle to the UCLH capital projects are the accessible file storage facilities, the automatic auditing, and the ability to share information instantly,” added Mulholland. “The public link facility and the ability to share externally where appropriate is also a really helpful feature, and the feedback from our 300-plus users has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Mulholland. “Having project information so clearly organised is also key to the regular reports that I need to provide. Huddle has made creating those reports so much easier, which means not only are we as a team far more transparent, but we are also able to report beyond our team with much more timely detail and with far greater accuracy.”