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Barts Healthcare Trust saves time and delivers efficiencies: new intelligent intranet enables staff and has seen a huge uptake

When Barts Health – one of Britain’s largest NHS healthcare providers – redesigned its staff intranet, it chose VerseOne to develop a mobile-first solution.

During our recent Customer Day, Head of Communications Alenka Daniel guided delegates through Barts’ bid to deliver an intelligent hub capable of serving 18,000 staff based throughout five hospitals in East London – and beyond.

NHS intranets are arguably the most important digital touchpoints in a healthcare professional's day, providing access to everything from electronic patient records to clinical systems, best practice, policies, and key research.

At our Customer Day, Alenka Daniel walked delegates through the Trust’s own intranet journey – which saw staff move from an overgrown, out-of-date site to an intuitive and task-driven tool accessible on any device, anytime, anywhere.

“The old site was a bit of a dumping ground, and we didn’t have a file storage system,” said Alenka. “So, if anybody wanted anything sharing with anyone else, they would put it on the intranet and share the link.

“That just built up for years and years, and basically no-one could find anything because there were 12,000 pages and you needed 18 clicks before you got anywhere. It had to go!”

Barts took its first step forward back in 2017, when it sought the help of VerseOne to transform its old site, subsequently launching WeShare. At a stroke, the new hub revolutionised the way staff worked, with navigation based around tasks rather than organisational structure.

“We brought in a mega-menu, changed the structure, and made it a lot more vibrant, bringing in in our new brand, which is a lot more colourful, as well as more two-way engagement,” Alenka added.

“With 18,000 staff, five hospitals and everyone super spread out, we wanted WeShare to be a place where we could bring everyone together within an integrated care network.

“We also brought in ‘Join the Conversation’ threads where we had weird and wonderful conversations about anything, blogs, comments, personal greeting, and staff are now able to ‘favourite’ pages.”

The new site was designed with a focus on mobile and tablet, too, and featured a raft of accessibility tools.

But there was still more to do. Four years and a pandemic later, the time had come for further digital transformation to make WeShare even better!

“The pandemic made us realise that the landscape of priorities had changed and what staff needed to do their jobs had changed,” said Alenka.

Following a comprehensive staff consultation process and detailed examination of WeShare’s analytics, the comms team were left with three, key takeaways: the Trust’s new digital business platform had to be personalised, content scaled down, and presentation improved.

Working with VerseOne’s subject experts, a collaborative and iterative design process followed, harnessing not only the well-known and trusted NHS brand but also the unique look, tone and heritage of Barts Health to bring frontline staff together – wherever they are located.

The site recently went live. New features include:

  • Vibrant employer branding: leveraging the Trust’s prestigious heritage throughout the healthcare intranet
  • Personalisation: including the ability to tailor news preferences alongside intuitive profile editing, one-click content favouriting, team messaging, forums and polls, and seamless Office 365 integration
  • An intuitive ‘hamburger’ menu: freeing-up space within an intuitive management system
  • A campaigns feature: boosting internal communication by giving the comms team the opportunity to set the agenda and highlight corporate priorities including vaccinations and social media
  • A task browser: saving time by helping staff ‘Find’, ‘Do’, ‘Tell’ or ‘Connect’ within the digital workplace
  • A toolbar: featuring apps, favourites, social media, and a profile section with contact details, supporting the Trust’s internal communication strategy
  • Policy pages: filtered into key categories
  • Improved service pages: one-column design – better for mobile, new banners, menu placements, and media browsers

Alenka and her team are delighted with the new site, which will support the Trust’s bid to deliver true integrated health and social care and boost employee experience.

“The beauty of digital is that nothing is static; you can move it around and try different things,” she said. “VerseOne gave us lots of different options as to how to lay different things out. We are really happy with it – and it looks good.”

Chris Mounsey, Chief Products and Solutions Officer at VerseOne, said the team had approached the design of Barts’ new intelligent workforce hub “in a component-based way”, focusing on particular elements they wanted to make work.

“I’m really glad the intranet is working out. Things like the news filtering, being able to use that and see it working and those little bits of the CMS that are there that can help people to really personalise – it’s so nice to see them being used effectively.”