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NHS Lothian Embrace Better Patient Flow with the 365 Transport Management System

October 11, 2021


NHS Lothian are one of our newest customers, who currently use our Transport Management System to help plan, manage and track their patient transport services in a more efficient way. Upon initially starting their 365 Response journey, they had a clear plan of what they wanted to achieve with our software. Initially, to ensure no bumps in the road during the transition from their old system, they decided to utilise both as they increased their level of understanding of the various tools we provide, before ultimately abandoning their old system entirely.

The 365 Transport Management System is feature-rich and has been designed working closely with NHS organisations to ensure a useful and easy-to-use system that offers substantial time and cost efficiencies, whilst also providing a full view of resources. Our core message is “making difficult transport easy,” because using technology to drive efficiency improvements for our customers, especially our hardworking NHS, has always been at the heart of everything we do. We provide newer ways of working that free up valuable time for staff, helping them focus more on patient care and less on the paperwork surrounding it.

In a previous article discussing their reasons for choosing 365 Response, Gary Murray, Business Development Manager at NHS Lothian, shared:

“We previously used paper-based systems to plan our journeys, so it was difficult to identify and resolve delays in the system. We predominantly manage hospital discharges, so we are looking forward to highlighting our inefficiencies and extracting the data to drive service improvements.”

Gary Murray | Business Development Manager | NHS Lothian

Moving Forward with Mobilisation

Once our customers are ready for mobilisation, we work together to ensure that they feel complete support and understanding from our team. Requirements, goals, contracts, governance, and pricing are just some of the important discussions that take place during the mobilisation period.

All 365 Response customers receive a dedicated Project Manager to assist them during this phase of mobilisation, as well as an Account Manager to oversee the general running of their account once they fall into our “business as usual” category – when all parts of the platform are operating as they should but might need additional help from time to time. Vic Barker, a longstanding member of 365 Response, managed the overall onboarding process for NHS Lothian.

Discussing her experience of assisting NHS Lothian on their journey, Vic shared:

“NHS Lothian have been an absolute joy to work with. They have provided all information in a timely manner, and any queries from either side were resolved quickly with regular video contact. This worked really well to resolve any issues, but also helped to build a solid customer relationship from start to finish.”

NHS Lothian shared with us the total number of journeys they would like to complete per month, including discharge, transfers, home and to hospital. The team also explained that these journeys would likely be planned into the system the day before. Information like that is vital to understanding customer needs. It’s important to us that we understand how your organisation and team operate, and we then use that information to provide an experience that is quick, easy, professional, and supportive. Chloe Bell, Project Information Analyst for NHS Lothian, commented on the overall mobilisation process:

“Using the 365 Transport Management System has proved to be a lot easier for us, definitely more efficient than using an Excel spreadsheet. The training we received from 365 Response was very robust too. They provided toolkits and booking guides, and any issues or errors we experienced were resolved quickly. Overall, we have had a very lovely experience with all of the 365 Response staff.”

Chloe Bell | Project Information Analyst | NHS Lothian

The Message

Supporting A&E flow and discharge movement is challenging at best, but NHS Lothian know this already. Many of the team members we trained on our software were supervisors within the Flow Centre. Following the redesign of urgent care in Scotland, NHS Lothian were ahead of the curve as they designed, developed, and implemented the original Flow Centre model and the service has been running since 2016. They were aware that greater efficiencies could be made to their transport planning function, by introducing a digital transport management system. Providing a more efficient way for organisations to manage or procure patient transport services is just one way in which we have helped to alleviate some of the stress on NHS Lothian, and the overall healthcare system. When asked about the road to post-Covid recovery, Dr Chris Jones shared:

The whole world is getting more complex, not simpler, and this is reflected in the evolving needs of transport systems in health and care. Forecasting and planning needs to be continually improved as the available data and circumstances change, but we also need systems with in-built flexibility to respond to immediate, short- and long-term changes to demand and the world around us.”

According to NHS England, 4.95 million people were waiting to receive treatment at the end of March 2021. Social distancing requirements brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and strict guidelines for infection control have significantly reduced available space and staff within hospitals and GP surgeries, creating a knock-on effect that is rapidly overwhelming the healthcare sector. Hospitals are overstretched, and with their capacity greatly reduced the nation must now navigate the healthcare system using more modern methods. Utilising digital technology over paper-based approaches creates more opportunity for better communication and organisation. Additionally, this then means that their internal fleets are able to better support A&E flow and discharge movement during these challenging times, without having to pull back on patient care. We asked Chloe what benefits she was already seeing within NHS Lothian’s day-to-day since implementing the software:

“Our drivers have seen significant benefits to the system. It’s made their jobs a lot easier. Now that they have instant messaging capabilities within the Driver App, they no longer have to call into the same line that the wards use – they could wait anywhere up to 10 minutes to get through to someone before, but now there’s no delay. We already use iPads as well, so it’s been nice to use software that actually aligns with our equipment. There are less limitations for certain tasks and journeys now. We’re more efficient now that we’re all using the same thing, which means there’s better cohesion between all the different groups.”

Chloe Bell | Project Information Analyst | NHS Lothian

Ongoing Support

When working with 365 Response, we pride ourselves on offering exceptional levels of support and customer service. We wondered what Chloe thought of the 365 Transport Management System now that the team had been able to compare their initial thoughts of the software at demo stage with the actual implementation:

“There were a few teething problems at the beginning, but that can be expected whenever you implement new processes and procedures. When we first saw the software we thought it was great, but the way it was set out meant that we would essentially be completing our tasks back to front.” Chloe continued:

“After explaining this misalignment, 365 Response provided us with a quick resolution, and then immediately spoke to their development team to make changes to the system that were more suited to our needs. Now we’re using the system daily, including additional features we initially didn’t think we would need! Document management, dispatch and journey bookings, and even our daily logs. I’m sure that as time goes on we will start to use even more of the system than we do today.”

Chloe Bell | Project Information Analyst | NHS Lothian

Every 365 Response customer has a dedicated account manager to support them throughout the implementation process. Katie Dodgson was the allocated account manager for NHS Lothian, regularly reporting on and managing their software activity. This would be achieved by daily emails or calls, and generally checking in on the team to ensure that they knew she was readily available to help at the drop of a hat. Reflecting on her experiences so far with the NHS Lothian team, Katie commented: 

“Implementing the software for NHS Lothian, as well as the necessary training required to complete that, has gone so well that the go live process has been both seamless and simple. As they have gotten more comfortable with the software during their day-to-day, they are already asking great questions on how to do things better. Overall, everything is going really well! They are a lovely bunch to work with, and I hope to continue and grow this relationship over time.”

The Journey Continues...

To embrace innovation and discuss how the 365 Response digital offering can help you make difficult transport easy, please contact us at [email protected], or give our friendly team a call today on 0333 2027 365. We’re here to help!

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