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By Pavit Chandhok - 10th Feb 2022
Read time - 10 minutes
So we’re already well into the second month of 2022. Time is flying by and nowhere has it moved faster than in Primary Care; with new funding, services and government u-turns coming at a record-breaking pace.
This is compounded by the rapid development over the past 24 months. It's not that long ago that with the advent of PCNs and ICSs some were wondering what the future of GP Federations was going to be. Fast forward two years and these GP Federations, Alliances, networks of networks, call them what you will: place-based primary care providers have proven their ability to deliver services and provide support to their member PCNs and practices at scale.
But for many of these evolving types of organisations, the systems and processes they rely on have not progressed. They have not kept pace with the new services, roles and headcount that these organisations are now managing. There has been a lack of innovation and new products to market which help these businesses to thrive.
So as inadequate legacy systems, spreadsheets, management time all get stretched to the max, now is the time to invest in a fit for purpose and flexible digital system that can streamline and automate the operations of these providers and transform them into operationally efficient digital-first businesses that can thrive in the dynamic healthcare market.
This is the service that we, Circular Wave, offer and our results and impact are speak for themselves.
Like any business, digital transformation projects - especially ones that cover many parts of the business - can seem daunting. In this blog, we outline the step-by-step process for how to deploy our digital platform into a new GP Federation ensuring a smooth transition, maximising our impact without adding to pressures on management or disrupting services.
So the business case has been written, due diligence is done and commercials agreed, what happens next…
The first step is for you to complete our New Organisation Onboarding Form. This is used to provide us with all the static information that we need to set up your organisation on our platform. This ranges from the roles, permission and contact information of managers to site addresses, staff groups, employment types, payment rates and so on.
This also includes a series of process maps that describe the steps in each process that we will support for you from verifying compliance, submitting timesheets to releasing rotas. These can be set for different teams, services and staff groups. You will be able to review and confirm the way that things should be done.
These form and process maps is often a good time for senior management to reflect on the way things should be done. Stepping back and mapping existing processes is often a good way for senior management to reflect on a preferred methodology, not one dictated by technological constraints.
Transfer data to be migrated
We also ask for all the information (staff lists, rotas, compliance documents) that you have in files, spreadsheets and legacy systems that will be migrated to the new system. This can and often does come in any and every form - we prefer CSV - and is securely transferred to us so we can extract, transform, and load onto our system.
Our development team can receive and load data in any format and migrating it this way, saves time and increases accuracy and so we encourage as much of this information to be provided as possible.
Once we have these initial requirements captured, we will schedule workshops with the leads or directors of each department. Usually, this has representatives from HR, Ops, Finance, Transformation and any relevant stakeholders.
In this meeting, we will make intros from your organisation and the Circular Wave deployment team. From our side, this usually includes an Account Manager, a Tech Lead, an Analyst and a Project Manager. It is really important to open communication channels between our team and yours so that we know who to speak to, can build trust and understand the internal operations of your organisation.
Actions will revolve from the kick-off meeting and usually, this will be in the form of subsequent break-out meetings on specific topics where we need to gather further information. Finance is always one where we need to define approval processes, the exact format you need payroll reports and the schedule to payroll for each staff group and service.
The final discussion point will be a go-live plan. This puts target dates to outstanding actions, agrees on a communication plan for staff and sets a date for going live with all staff and services switching to our system.
With all the information that we have gathered, our development team will start the technical work of configuring your organisation on our platform. This involves configuring settings for all the different staff groups, new views for different managers and services, workflows for all the processes we’ll be supporting and building the reports which will integrate with other systems and departments.
We are very fortunate to be able to offer a huge degree of flexibility with this because everything on our platform is built with reusable components. These are building blocks that we can edit and position in different ways so that we can support very diverse workflows. This includes supporting different requirements for each manager and staff group with everything from onboarding to compliance, rostering, timesheet, payroll and reporting.
If there are any specific requirements that we cannot support (eg. an API integration with a particular payment provider), we leverage our existing infrastructure and expertise to be able to develop it rapidly.
We aim to have these ready for go-live and we are often able to deliver fully functioning features in a matter of days and weeks. Depending on size and priority, if we are unable to develop a new feature in this timeframe, we will propose a short-term workaround and implement a plan for its migration once it is available.
These developments have the power to streamline and automate even complex and unique challenges. We can build new functionality that solves age-old or wicked problems to transform processes and support new ways of working.
We advise that the communication process with staff starts as early as possible - things can always be delayed but rarely do people respond well to change that they have not been informed of.
Communication comes in various forms but it should be clear and concise providing key information and dates. We will provide our guidance and work with you to design emails, infographics and posters to best communicate to staff. Working together we can advise on communication strategies that work for all staff groups and demographics.
Whilst we design all our apps to be as intuitive as possible, we provide training to managers and administrators in whatever form necessary. We have a detailed user guide that can be distributed but we usually favour 1-on-1 training.
A 1-on-1 training session usually takes about 30 mins on an MS Teams video call. During this, managers can meet our Account Manager and get a walkthrough of each of the relevant sections for them. We’re happy to offer this to any number of managers as we benefit greatly from these meetings as we can get to know regular users, validate any specifications, and can see how users interact with the system. We can also host group training sessions online and in person.
Our extra help reduces the burden on management to upskill and train other staff and admins. It's also very efficient as our team have lots of experience explaining each section of our app. We’ll go into in-depth detail so new admins understand both the current capability and potential of the system.
We will migrate all of the data that has been provided to us from other systems (or in locked cupboards) onto the platform. We can migrate data from any form (Excel, CSV, SQL, NoSQL, pdf and png) and will get the information onto the system to minimise the amount of effort to duplicate information in our system or run two systems in parallel. It means that we can “big-bang” our deployment with everything and everyone switching over to the new way of doing things in one go.
Not only does this speed deployment but it eliminates any additional pressures on management and staff during the transition. Once they are on our system, everything is already there and they can get on with their job.
Send invites to staff
Towards the end of the third week, we aim to send invitations to staff to start the onboarding process. This will be done with the staff list of names, roles, mobile numbers or email addresses that you have provided us with. Staff will receive the instructions and unique onboarding code by email, by text or both. We can repeat this process so any new staff that join the system or they can be invited one by one.
This means that all staff receive the invitations at the same time and our customer support team will be on hand to aid those who encounter difficulty. We can also set the exact time that they will receive them (eg. just after a weekly meeting). These invites are then resent to those who haven't signed up every 24 hours.
Working like this and with all the information staff need to sign-up and self-onboard to the platform inside the invitation messages and onboarding workflow means that we can sign up a large number of staff in one go and very quickly. Usually, we have 95% of staff live on the system within 48 hours.
Whether you have 50 or 500 staff we need to make sure that all staff are registered and engaged with the system. To do this we provide daily onboarding KPIs looking at profiles created, apps signed in, rosters view and other key actions your staff need to be doing on the platform.
We will track progress and provide you with an accurate representation of engagement. Our Account Manager will be in daily contact to highlight any issues, suggest ways to prompt or reengage and provide any other support.
We share the responsibility of staff engagement and provide expertise to support the change management process to ensure its success.
As soon as possible we will start collecting information on the impact of each of the new processes which our system is supporting. This may be new staff members onboarding time or steps removed from submitting and approving timesheets. We will compare this assessment to our predefined targets and make sure that each and every step has been optimised as expected.
This means that we are very quickly able to identify any issues with deployment and new opportunities. Often there will be processes or services which we don't immediately support or weren't aware of. By quickly assessing our impact in each part of the organisation, we can capture this information and put a plan in place to address it.
This is designed to support your own impact assessment and we will share all our findings with you. It's not a matter of patting ourselves on the back but more holding ourselves accountable and ensuring we’re doing what we set out to do.
Plan next phases
We will try to harness the early interest and enthusiasm for change as soon as possible. To do this we will aim to keep key stakeholders engaged and make plans for any further phases or additional projects. This may also include outreach to other providers and organisations within the Primary Care community. Going forward and because we are constantly adding new features and enhancements, we will be in regular contact to offer new services and improvements.
This means that you will have a team and platform that will continue to innovate and drive improvements on your behalf. Whether it's new regulations or opportunities, we will be constantly providing new and better ways of doing things.
This way you will stay ahead of the latest trends and be flexible enough to exploit new opportunities. As your team become familiar with the platform they will understand its potential and make suggestions and feature requests. We proactively encourage these contributions as this is how we develop and improve our services.
And there we have it. We know that every organisation is different but I hope this is a helpful example of how we can deploy the Circular Wave platform into your GP Federation.
Please reach out to us with your thoughts or experiences. For further information or support with your organisation, contact [email protected] or call on 0333 987 4045