Accelerating digital transformation, empowering project teams and driving patient outcomes in the NHS
Smartsheet helps the NHS manage large scale hardware deployments, software rollouts and workforce changes that enable patients to get the best possible care.
"Smartsheet’s impact has been first-rate. Its simplicity of use and informative dashboards are an absolute vote winner."
Senior Programme Consultant, NHS England
Dedicated change leaders across the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) are striving to improve patient outcomes by enhancing processes and leveling up technological capabilities.
Strategic consultants such as Stewart Cooper, Senior Programme Consultant, and Dympna Wilson, Programme Manager – along with management consultants like Chris Russ, Director of Russ Consulting – are central to this transformation.
But the sheer quantity of change initiatives being moved forward – across a number of locations and teams – had created serious challenges. Cooper, Wilson and Russ work with 40 separate project managers across different regional NHS hubs in the North West of England – with 87 separate projects underway.
As this team of transformation experts soon realised, their success could be impeded without the right tools and collaboration strategies in place.
In earlier phases of the project, the team used Excel spreadsheets to capture data, with reporting managed via PowerPoint.
“It was extremely labour-intensive. We were spinning things up in Excel spreadsheets, manipulating data into Powerpoint and producing dashboards that way,” says Cooper. “We were totally dependent on the 40 different PMs to update everything. Reporting became a copy and pasting industry – certainly not sustainable. We needed a better way forward.”
On a previous project, Russ had introduced Cooper to Smartsheet – and Cooper was immediately struck by the possibilities. “The second I realised we needed to improve our reporting, Smartsheet sprang to mind.”
So, Cooper and Wilson collaborated to create the ideal dashboard outputs and, within days, Russ created a blueprint. A solution was not only approved but live, in just three weeks.
“This was a significant time saving compared to other solutions I’ve used, which have taken between six months to a year to be rolled out,” comments Wilson.
Smarter, more time-efficient reporting
With Smartsheet, the issue of labour-intensive tracking and reporting has been notably improved. Project tracking is mostly automated, while reporting is far more efficient. Data is seamlessly presented in a top dashboard that visualises progress and updates, with information like allocation, current spend and project status displayed clearly.
Data compilation that used to take an entire business week has now been reduced down to hours – while financial reports take just ten minutes, down from a day previously.
Better insights, better outcomes
Smartsheet’s simplicity means that anybody can use the solution. Cooper observes that “not only is work more rewarding, it’s easier to challenge when report updates haven’t been made, as it’s simpler to spot those omissions.”
Insights are more accurate, too. With less copy and pasting of data, there’s also reduced human error from fatigue. “This is critical for a public organisation like the NHS,” says Russ. “With greater accuracy, risks can be mitigated more effectively.”
Better outcomes for patients
With Smartsheet, programme consultants and project managers can confidently deliver projects that ensure patients get the best possible care – whether that’s remote teleworking for patients or software solutions that enhance GP records and foster digital inclusion.
An opportunity to expand
The team is still early in its Smartsheet journey, with exciting plans afoot to take advantage of various relevant integrations, such as DocuSign and linking into other Smartsheet systems, providing a network of interoperability.
And as individuals across the NHS gain confidence with the platform, there are also ambitions to expand general usage – whether that’s centralising information currently held in multiple information containers or using Control Centre to reduce clutter through archiving and make changes at scale.
“Smartsheet as a solution empowers us to think: where can we go next?” says Cooper. “People are also very impressed by what we’ve achieved by working with Russ Consulting – and they’re surprised by how quickly we built a workable, impactful, cost-effective solution.”
“Smartsheet has almost become the standard,” Wilson adds. “People are saying: this is what we should all be using. So we look forward to seeing what else we can achieve.”