Southern Health & Social Care Trust

A new app to provide consolidated and reliable information

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1st June 2020

New app developed in four weeks to boost communications and share real-time information with employees during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Southern Health & Social Care Trust (SHSCT) is working with Civica, a global leader in software for public services, to provide its employees with the new SHSCT Connect App. The app will play a vital role in keeping the Trust’s employees informed of the latest updates during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a central hub for information and issuing alerts. 

SHSCT provides health and social care services across five council areas in Northern Ireland, and employs more than 13,000 people. 

As an established partner Civica has been working with the SHSCT to support delivery of care using its patient administration and document management systems. Following Civica’s collaboration with the Northern Ireland Department of Health to develop the COVID-19 NI mobile app, the Trust commissioned Civica to help build an app to ensure vital information is shared with all its staff, including those with no access to corporate systems such as contract and agency staff. The app is a vital source of information, guidance and engagement for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The app provides the Trust with direct control over all content using a flexible content management system, providing complete autonomy. It was developed in four weeks following a virtual design workshop with Civica, SHSCT and UX design company, Big Motive, as just one innovation within the Civica North Star lab. 

This is a first for the Trust and will give all employees access to the content they need on a day-to-day basis, as well as provide a central hub for podcasts and newsletters. Chatbot functionality enables employees to ask questions and get a response at any time of day or night. It then provides a daily breakdown of questions being asked so the Trust’s communications team can refine the content and resources within the app accordingly. In addition, the Trust can send out push notifications for important announcements, such as notifying employees of a new PPE delivery.

Vivienne Toal, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Southern Health & Social Care Trust said: “Together with Civica and Big Motive, we have been working extremely hard over the past month to find a way to ensure all our employees, including those who do not have easy access to a computer, can access information regarding news, benefits and health and wellbeing on a regular basis. 

“Engaging with and listening to our staff is fundamental to helping us create a great place to work. One of the key areas we identified for improvement following our 2019 staff survey was communication and engagement, so we are thrilled that this app will enable us to connect and engage with everyone across the organisation quickly and effectively. This roll-out is just the first phase and we are very excited about how the app will develop over time.”   

Steve Brain, Executive Director, Health and Care, Civica added: “Technology and software are key enablers to improving communications and driving efficiencies across the NHS. The SHSCT Connect App will allow the Southern Health & Social Care Trust to share focused, easily consumed content with its 13,000 employees, ensuring they are always kept up-to-date. We are delighted to be supporting the Trust with its digital transformation strategy at this crucial time and improving its employees’ engagement and wellbeing at work.”

While COVID-19 drove the creation of the app, it has also been designed as part of the Trust’s wider digital transformation plan and will continue to function as a key HR and Communications platform post-pandemic. The Trust is also looking at using the app to provide online and virtual training as well as clinical guidance for medical workers in the future. 

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