More than a decade on from IT centralisation and the selection of Sunrise as a platform partner, NHS Informatics Merseyside and Sunrise are partnering up again for automation and innovation.
The search for marginal gains and efficiencies has long been part of the UK government’s wider strategy for the NHS. That process has resulted in the centralisation of IT services for several NHS Trusts.
A notable example is the formation of Informatics Merseyside which, with the support of service management solution provider Sunrise, now has 18,000 users, handles 132,000 requests a year, and provides round-the-clock support to specialist NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, general practitioners and professional bodies in the Liverpool area.
Integrating new channels
The majority of support requests are currently made either by phone or through webforms. But Informatics Merseyside plans to integrate new communication methods, including live chat, as part of the Sunrise’s incident management process. The result will be real-time support that allows NHS staff to get to the root of issues, fast.
Sunrise’s platform has already shown adaptability for several Informatics Merseyside projects focused on automation. These include a password reset function, which allows Sunrise to authenticate users directly. It’s also displayed in the immediate, automatic permission given when NHS staff need to access particular folders on NHS Trust systems. Previously, such requests took a full working day to go through.
Another digital initiative underway between Informatics Merseyside and Sunrise is attempting to emulate the consumer online shopping experience, but for NHS IT staff. A new portal will enable users to select the software, hardware and services they need to build a business case, while automatically recommending additional products in line with their needs.
Automation gives staff more time
David Gordon, head of IT service operations at Informatics Merseyside, suggests that the push for automation is symptomatic of a change of culture in the NHS.
“As with the entire NHS, we have a focus on efficiency, and Sunrise enables us to automate many of our processes, giving staff time to handle more complex, more challenging jobs where they can really add value”, he said.
“Our Shift Left strategy aims to automate activities, freeing up service desk time. Sunrise has helped drive a cultural change within the organisation, allowing us to innovate and deliver the easy experience that our increasingly digital customers expect, whatever their needs.”
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According to surveys, the combination of automation and innovation appears to be working. Informatics Merseyside reports a 98 percent customer satisfaction level with its service desk.
Geoff Rees, director of business services and sales at Sunrise, believes that Informatics Merseyside is a good example of a service desk moving from reactive to proactive.
“The role of the service desk is changing rapidly – moving from reactive incident management to proactively supporting a better, consumer-led experience for all users,” he said.
“The success of Informatics Merseyside in extending the services it offers into areas such as online shopping, live chat and automation, based on our platform, demonstrates how the service desk can accelerate digital innovation, benefiting the entire organisation.”
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