“We chose iCareHealth as it was clear the solution was the most functionally rich, integrated package with an intuitive look and feel. As an ‘off-the-shelf’ product, the solution was low cost, easy to use, and the best fit for our organisation.” – David Hamilton, Director of Nursing and Projects.

The challenges for Bupa Home Health

Bupa Home Healthcare (Bupa) has over 650 nurses and care support workers providing total solutions in out of hospital care to 1,200 patients across the UK. The complex scheduling and management of this specialist healthcare service is provided at one central office in Harlow, Essex.

Bupa Home Healthcare’s vision is to provide quality healthcare to patients in their own home. However, achieving this vision was becoming challenging whilst using Excel spreadsheets to manage the complex operational processes.

David Hamilton, Director of Nursing and Projects said, “Our operations needed to be more robust in order to respond to the dynamic nature of the business, and ensure, with full confidence, that we can meet the needs of our patients who depend on us.”

Secondary to this was the need to operate more efficiently with an intuitive, integrated system.

“With the amount of data transferring between spreadsheets and paper it was extremely difficult to generate management information reports, which is vital to monitoring and improving business processes.” said David.

iCareHealth’s Business Manager and Mobile Care Worker Software: A functionally rich solution

“We chose iCareHealth as it was clear the solution was the most functionally rich, integrated package with an intuitive look and feel. As an ‘off-the-shelf’ product, the solution was low cost, easy to use, and the best fit for our organisation,” said David.

Bupa have implemented iCareHealth’s Business Manager and Mobile Care Worker software into their organisation in a three phased approach across the UK.

Integrated and automated workflows

The manual processes that Bupa previously operated meant schedulers would key in data multiple times, across multiple spreadsheets. “Not only was this extremely time consuming and subject to human error, it also resulted in multiple outputs of the same information” said Luke Law, Senior Scheduler.

Schedulers previously built rotas based on memory of which nurse had the requirements to meet the needs of the patient. “Some nurses would be doing long hours and lots of mileage as they had reliable skill sets. The software has changed the way work is allocated and will save the organisation money on overtime and mileage costs,” said David.

The intelligent rostering feature allows users to set parameters including workers’ availability, location, travel requirements, experience, qualifications and skills, as well as the continuity of care requirements and preferences of the patient. “Rotas are built according to these parameters, to ensure the best nurse is allocated to the patient, reducing the need for schedulers to make objective decisions in their heads,” said Luke.

The automated workflows allow data to flow between different functions within the solution, instantly reducing staff time and decreasing the potential for keyboard errors. “Logging, monitoring and tracking through each stage of the process was significantly minimised, and inbound requests such as staff holidays appear in the nurse’s schedule instantly, ensuring data is correct and current.” Luke continued.

Using the schedule updates feature, coordinators and managers can offer visits to nurses, who in turn can choose to accept or reject the offer of work from their smart phone or mobile device. The software automatically updates rotas to reflect the new shift changes, ensuring that schedules are kept accurate and timely. “With changes to nurse’s availability and patients constantly moving around, the dynamic nature of the solution has allowed us to respond to these changes quickly and efficiently,” said David.

“Our nurses love the idea of not having to do time sheets anymore as everything is logged on the handheld device and flows back through to the office” said Luke.

“We now have the software in place to support our 20 per cent efficiency target by the end of 2014. Importantly, we have up to date information to enable our staff to ask the right questions in order to reach this.” – David Hamilton, Director of Nursing and Projects.

Enhanced management information

The information the software captures has allowed Bupa to make business decisions that were not possible before. They can now proactively ensure effective use of staff, and highlight areas that need further exploration and improvement.

“It allows us to ask questions such as: Are nurses driving past each other? Why does a nurse have dead time?” said David. “The real time reports also allow us to quickly draw information and report back to Clinical Commissioning Groups on the same day. We can easily see what percentage of our nurses were late and on time, what percentage of nurses were agency, and all this can help us improve our operational efficiencies,” added Luke.

“The management reports give us objective evidence that support our decisions. This vastly reduces disruption and complaints among staff and regions,” said Luke. The reports also highlight where further recruitment of certain skills are needed across the UK, which is important to operate efficiently and meet patient needs.

Greater Worker visibility

A key benefit to the solution is the lone worker protection functionality, offering managers visibility of workers in real time. The software features GPS location, Wi-Fi and other sources of triangulation to help accurately determine the location of a nurse. The office is automatically alerted if a nurse has not reached or left a location in accordance with their rota, improving worker safety.

Improved quality of care

With a more effective scheduling method, Bupa can ensure the most appropriate nurse is allocated to each patient to meet their needs, ultimately improving the quality of care they will receive.

The auditing functionality also contributes to improved quality of care. “For every visit we can audit that the nurse was fully qualified and the qualification was up to date,” said David. Luke added, “Previously we only captured tasks that were billable, now we can capture all tasks so this really has the potential to improve the quality of care our nurses can deliver.”

Positive cultural shift

Bupa approached the project with a clear focus on the cultural change required to deliver these outcomes. “The biggest challenge will always be people and process change, not the system,” said David. Bupa were clear that ownership of the changes had to be led by management from the top of the organisation, in order for the project to be a success. Communication and support to all staff has made the transition both culturally, and operationally, a success.

Platform for future growth

As Bupa continue to grow, they now have the operational support to continue to improve efficiency, optimise workforce allocation, reduce errors and make strategic business decisions. “We now have the software in place to support our 20 per cent efficiency target by the end of 2014. Importantly, we have up to date information to enable our staff to ask the right questions in order to reach this,” said David.

“iCareHealth’s software offers a platform that can be built upon; such as the development of mobile assessments, as well as other organisational needs and industry requirements,” said David. “This has been a huge project for Bupa Home Healthcare and is delivering very positive results.”

Curious to find out what iCareHealth’s Business Manager or Mobile Care Worker software can do for your organisation? Contact us today.