The South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) is one of 15 AHSNs across England set up to deliver significant change in the way the health and care sector identifies, develops and adopts innovation. Each AHSN works to improve the health of its local population and generate economic growth in the area.
AHSNs have to regularly report on their plans and progress to NHS England. They also have to report to their own board on the progress they’re making delivering their strategic objectives and work programmes.
The SW AHSN has a mission ‘to improve the health and patient experience of people in the South West by supporting and accelerating innovation and quality improvement’. To deliver this, they have three strategic objectives supported by ten work programmes encompassing a wide range of individual projects.
They work with 18 member organisations and a wide range of stakeholder organisations from health and care sectors in the South West and nationally.
What the SW AHSN wanted to achieve
The SW AHSN’s staff team comes from a diverse range of backgrounds including academia, frontline health and social care, research, IT, analytics and NHS support services.
This means, while they are all committed to achieving a common aim, they have a wide range of work practices. This difference was causing an inconsistent approach to project management.
The SW AHSN needed a way to easily and clearly report back to NHS England and their board on their work programme, in particular in relation to individual project outcomes. They also needed a system that would make sure they had the most up to date information in their reports. This would mean they could clearly evidence the impact of their work and identify and manage risk.
To move to this position the SW AHSN committed to go through a change management process, including a change in culture, to one where they had:
- A consistent approach to project management
- A commitment to clearly evidence impact
- Easy access to accurate information on individual projects and programmes of work
- Comprehensive, easy and flexible reporting
- Robust risk management
How we’re helping the SW AHSN achieve their goal
We started working with the SW AHSN in October 2016 and had their system live by February 2017. This rapid installation of the project management software helped them move smoothly through the changes they needed to make.
Because Verto is cloud-based project management software, the SW AHSN staff and its contractors can access the system. In the future their member organisations may also have access to the system, which will further help develop a consistent approach to project management across the network.
We tailored the Verto dashboard to match the brand colours of the SW AHSN. This familiarity helped their staff engage and feel more comfortable using a new system.
Verto has given them a shared database, which means they can generate reports at all levels. And Verto’s tagging facility means they can create reports from the data they choose.
“The team at TMI have been really helpful and Verto is proving to be an excellent project management tool. We now have a richness of information we didn’t have before. Being able to tag fields so we can tailor reports is a significant benefit. And we’re able to use Verto to quickly and easily create our quarterly reports and business plan for NHS England. All this has helped us to implement the change we needed to make in both our practice and our culture.”
Claire Higdon, Director of Corporate Services, SW AHSN
The benefits the SW AHSN is seeing
The SW AHSN have found Verto really easy to use. Some staff are happily using it without having had any training. However, those who have taken part in a short training session are, to quote Claire Higdon, ‘really flying.’
In particular, staff have found Verto is saving them time as they only need to fill in information such as project descriptions and objectives once.
The SW AHSN now has a much clearer understanding of how projects are allocated across the staff team and can clearly see who is working on what. They can also get an instant report on all the projects each member organisation is involved in.
They are able to capture more information on each project and programme of work. This is making it much easier to see what they’ve achieved and evidence progress. It also means they are better able to identify and manage risk.
One of the key benefits the SW AHSN has found is Verto’s tagging facility. This means users can tag the data they want to include to create exactly the report they need.
With Verto they can also produce reports as PDF documents. This has proved to be really helpful when staff need to take information to a meeting or share it with someone who doesn’t have access to the system.
“The strength of working with TMI has been how they’ve tailored our Verto system to our exact needs – making it part of our organisation, not a bolt on.”
Louise Witts, Interim CEO, SW AHSN
In March 2017, the SW AHSN sent their first quarter end report to NHS England using Verto. Claire Higdon told us it was really quick and easy to do. She went on to say:
“Although many of the changes we’ve seen since we introduced Verto seem fairly basic, they’ve really helped us to engage and motivate staff and members.”
We’re still working with the SW AHSN and are currently helping them use Verto to capture more information from their projects and develop more detailed reporting.
To find out more about how Verto can help your AHSN please call us on 0118 334 6200 or message us here.