12th March 2021
Louise Roberts, Civica Scheduling Implementation Manager on how clinical scheduling has facilitated true patient-centred care and improved staff morale
Before joining Civica (formerly Malinko Health & Care Technologies), Louise was a district nurse team lead at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (CTM UHB). Which was the first Health Board in Wales to trial Civica Scheduling (formerly Malinko) in 2018. She joined the company in June 2020, bringing insight and experience from the NHS customer world, right to the heart of the implementation programme.
Louise recalls the early days of the implementation at CTM UHB:
The implementation wasn’t without its hiccups as we were the first of 30 teams to adopt Civica Scheduling, so there were a few ups and downs as we worked out what worked best.
I remember the transfer to clinical e-scheduling was a huge adjustment for the whole team. Team Leaders roles changed significantly overnight; from manually collating patient lists using pen and paper one day, to using a web application that now did this in real-time.
“We went from having nothing to striking gold”
District nurses were used to manually planning their routes each day, and suddenly had a mobile app listing their scheduled visits with intelligent route mapping. What was once was a labour-intensive task, often taking three to four hours a day was now being done in a matter of minutes. We went from having nothing to striking gold.
CTM UHB now has 30 teams using Civica Scheduling. This alongside the recruitment of administrators has led to a huge reduction in administrative tasks being carried out by nurses.
Managing unplanned care
Unscheduled visit requests would come in throughout the day that needed to be scheduled to team members who are not only available, but have the right skill set.
Civica Scheduling’s live status board was displayed on a large screen in the District Nursing area allowing seamless allocation of unplanned visits. We could see locations of nurses’ last check-in or out, so when unplanned calls came in, which they do throughout the day, we’re able to quickly see who’s best to take that visit.
For the first time, we were able to demonstrate our capacity and demand and look at our workforce planning to optimise resource utilisation.
This took away the old laborious ways of working, allowing senior members of staff to do things such as complex visits, clinical supervision and Personal Development Reviews (PDRs) – things which we didn’t often have time to do before.
We were also able to archive patients easily, so they weren’t active on the caseload when they shouldn’t be. If those patients did then need future support, they were easily unarchived and readded to the caseload.
For the first time in many months, all staff PDRs were up to date and elearning percentages had risen.
Overcoming resistance to change
There was some initial resistance to this new way of working as expected. Nurses are creatures of habit, so it was hard for some to make the technological leap when they haven’t used mobile apps before. Also, many staff were used to managing their own workloads or driving specific routes so felt that the technology was taking away some of their independence.
“Malinko transformed my life as a district nurse. We never looked back.”
Our team had a top-down approach to acceptance and the Civica team spent a lot of time addressing initial concerns. Once the niggles were ironed out, the team appreciated the fairer distribution of caseloads and geography. We suddenly felt much more organised. Civica Scheduling transformed my life as a district nurse. And as a team, we never looked back.
What advice would you give to community care providers thinking of using Civica Scheduling?
I would recommend the recruitment of administrators to help manage scheduling. This allows senior clinicians to focus on the more complex cases without getting tied up in non-clinical work.
What does the future hold for community services in Wales?
Community services are ever evolving. I believe Civica Scheduling has helped bring district nursing into the 21st century, facilitating the provision of truly patient-centred care and improving staff morale. Now it’s being rolled out across more University Health Boards in Wales, the future’s looking bright!
You may be interested to know..
The community healthcare team at CTM UHB were featured in a BBC Wales news article in 2019 when they were embarking on the Neighbourhood District Nursing pilot using Civica Scheduling.