Delivering Outstanding Healthcare Services During Crises - Case Study


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Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) is a healthcare institution with multiple hospitals, over 3,400 employees, and a large number of community sites. Heavy winter snowstorms highlighted shortcomings in AWP's crisis communications. It was increasingly difficult to track frontline service delivery using just email and phones.

And it was difficult to get a clear, comprehensive view of operations status during a crisis. This case study investigates how AWP is able to protect their services, customers and reputation, even in the midst of a fast-moving crisis.

The organization needed to alert thousands of staff members, as well as manage an incident across numerous sites and collaborate on the response. To overcome those challenges, AWP adopted MissionMode’s web-based crisis management and communications software.

The organization is now able to communicate quickly and easily with staff members through any communications device, no matter where the people are located. MissionMode also provides a unified command and control platform that delivers centralized and auditable control of crisis and operational incidents.

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Delivering Outstanding Healthcare Services During Crises - Case Study

  1. 1. Emergency Notification • Incident Management CASE STUDY Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust Delivering Outstanding Care and Speed of Services During Crises Summary The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (referred to as AWP or the Trust) recognized the need for mass notification and crisis management tools after major snow • 16 inpatient hospitals storms. Quality of care and speed of services must be met, • Four community sites regardless of the disruption. The organization wanted to not • 97 community bases only send alerts, but manage an incident across numerous sites and collaborate on the response. A robust audit trail was a key • Over 3,400 whole-time equivalent staff requirement, due to regulatory and legal requirements. AWP • Over 700,000 service user contacts / year chose MissionMode’s Notification Center and Situation Center online software to meet those needs. • £198 million annual expenditure • Serves a population of 1.6 million in a 2,200 square mile area About AWP • Headquarters: Chippenham, England AWP is a not-for-profit provider of mental health and social care services in the southwest region of England, serving a popula- tion of 1.6 million people. Services are delivered at a combina- tion of 16 hospitals, over 100 community sites, people’s homes, and several secure units. The organization has more than 700,000 patient encounters per year. “AWP is better able to protect its services, customers and Business Continuity is a Critical Function reputation with the use of Business Continuity is a critical function within AWP. Services MissionMode.” must be provided, regardless of the disruption or emergency. The organization places a high priority on maintaining its – Mike Relph, Assistant CEO exemplary record of mitigating critical incidents. But, even a single misstep during a crisis could have a significant impact on patient care. Page 1 of 3102611
  2. 2. CASE STUDY Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS TrustContinuity planning at AWP covers a wide range of rely on email. There was also the need for tools thatincidents, including snow storms, heat waves, fuel went beyond just notification—tools for managingshortages, flooding, IT network outages, and supply- the response itself.chain interruptions. In addition, when other health-care organizations respond to emergencies that Management knew that any solution had to be resil-AWP is not affected by, AWP may be asked to provide ient and intuitive. Other requirements they identifiedsupport. included:Providing quality services becomes an even greater • Easily send timely alerts and notifications.challenge given the large number of community- • Manage an incident across numerous sites.based staff who care for patients in homes and at • Collaborate remotely between Trustcommunity sites. A high degree of coordination is headquarters and affected sites.necessary, and the ability to communicate in any • Minimal dependence on the Trust Networkcircumstance is crucial. or IT infrastructure. • Electronic log of communications and events.The Need for Fast, Accurate Communications They assigned priority values to each requirementThe need for mass notification and incident manage- and compared solutions against the requirements.ment tools became apparent during heavy snow- Initial and ongoing costs were also important consid-storms in the Winter of 2009/2010. Chris Williams, erations. Executive buy-in was obtained early in theEmergency Planning Manager, said that “during the process, which accelerated the procurement of thestorms, it became increasingly difficult to track how application and its integration within the organiza-the weather was impacting the ability to deliver”The organization relied on email to give a clear MissionMode Provides the Solutionpicture of how services were suffering, and the chal- Several vendors met some of requirements, but onlylenges faced. However, it rapidly became apparent MissionMode met all of them. AWP selected Mission-that staff on the front line did not have time to keep Mode’s web-based Notification Center and Situationchecking their email for the latest information. Center.“In times of crisis or disruption, notification speed is The Notification Center can send alert messages viacrucial,” stated Chris Williams. phone, SMS, email, fax and pager—and it tracks real-AWP uses a wide range of tools to facilitate commu- time responses from recipients. The Situation Centernication, including email and intranet. Email is the is a virtual command centre for managing the detailsstandard means of sharing information, but it’s often of a critical event—communications, resources, taskover-used and not given the priority it needs. assignments, collaboration, team status, and more.Manual telephone cascades are inherently time-con- “The MissionMode system is intuitive and easy forsuming, even assuming that all telephone numbers staff to use ‘cold’ during a critical event,” according toare correct and answered at the first contact attempt. Chris Williams. “We can immediately notify everyoneThere’s also the danger of miscommunication as infor- involved, provide accurate information, get real-timemation is passed down the line. updates from staff, manage an incident response, and collaborate remotely. And, the system did not requireThe organization recognized the need for a method us to change our processes.”of rapidly contacting staff members, one that did not Page 2 of 3
  3. 3. CASE STUDY Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS TrustAWP primarily uses the Notification Center for send- “Incident plans are developed with our commission-ing SMS text alerts. During a major incident, or when ers,” according to Chris Williams. “If we don’t handlea wider response is called for, voice alerts are added. them well, they won’t commission our services.”The Notification Center sends voice alerts that areautomatically created from text messages, or they can This could significantly impact AWP’s revenue, as wellbe recorded in someone’s voice. as its reputation. Apart from the impact on those who depend on our services, there might also be financialThe organization used MissionMode successfully penalties for not delivering proper speed of services.during its 2010 emergency response exercises. In this Chris stated, “It’s essential to have a detailed, accurateyear’s exercises, participants will use the online Situa- record of every aspect of a response. MissionModetion Center to monitor and assign tasks and track the fulfils that need.”status of team members. They will access plans andother essential documents in the Situation Center’sresource library. During the post-exercise debriefing, Protecting Services, Customers & Reputationthe Business Continuity team will use the detailed log “AWP’s reputation as a mental health care serviceof events and communications to evaluate the exer- provider is based entirely on its ability to consistentlycise and recommend future actions. deliver high quality and safe services, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—whatever the weather, whatever theAudit Trails Provide Crucial Evidence circumstances,” stated Mike Relph, Assistant CEO.AWP’s audit plans become critically important when a “Swift, accurate and reliable communications lie atdisruption or emergency occurs. MissionMode’s audit the heart of the Trust’s emergency and business con-trail provides vital evidence for mandatory incident tinuity plans—and this is where MissionMode addsreports that are required by regulatory agencies. The value. AWP is better able to protect its services, cus-reports can also be used in a court of law. tomers and reputation with the use of MissionMode.” About MissionMode MissionMode provides notification and incident management solu- tions to industry-leading organizations across the globe. We help you resolve incidents faster and more effectively. Our easy-to-use Notification Center sends alerts within seconds, but there are powerful features available when you need them. It also has unique capabilities, such as alerts recorded in your own voice. The Situation Center is a virtual command center for coordinating the response to any type of incident, from common operational disrup- tions to major crises. It’s a secure hub for managing resources, tasks, collaboration, communications, documents, team status, and more. Contact us to learn more. North America 877.833.7763 (toll-free) +1 312.445.8811 International +44 1494 837198© 2011, MissionMode Solutions Page 3 of 3