The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust serves the communities of North Manchester, Bury, Rochdale and Oldham, along with the surrounding towns and villages. This area is collectively known as the North-East sector of Greater Manchester and has a population of around 820,000. It is a large Trust with a total operating budget of over £500,000 GBP (Approx. $700,000 USD).
Its main commissioners are NHS Bury, NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, NHS Oldham and NHS Manchester. The Pennine Acute Trust has been a client of Help Desk Technology since 1999 and currently uses ServicePRO.
Portering Services previously had a purely manual means of dispatching porters and receiving requests. There was a bottleneck at the dispatch and also, there was no means to report on the performance of porters.
Implementing an electronic portering system using ServicePRO.
By implementing ServicePRO, Portering Services has dramatically improved its timeliness, efficiency and accountability.
Portering Services previously had a purely manual means of dispatching porters and receiving requests. This consisted of a single phone line per hospital with a Portering Supervisor acting as a dispatcher answering calls. When a request was received, it would be recorded on a log sheet and be assigned to a porter via two-way radio. While this process did work, it presented numerous issues.
There was a bottleneck at dispatch, as only one phone call could be received at any one time. Individual porters were unable to view all pending requests for the site and pick up the next job without being assigned by the dispatcher. This was inefficient, as porters could design themselves better routes with a full view of all pending moves and not being limited to the next request in the log sheet.
Additionally, the absence of tracking meant that Portering Services could not report on the performance of porters, whether individually or as a whole, and also had no objective reference to use when facing complaints from departments on timeliness.
The Pennine Acute Trust was tasked with bringing the Portering Services department into the 21st century by implementing an electronic portering system. Portering Services reviewed several dedicated portering solutions available on the market, but were unsatisfied with the associated costs, having been quoted as much as £300,000 GBP (approx. $424,500 USD) for installation and £100,000 GBP (approx. $141,500 USD) yearly repurchase of licenses.
Before committing to such a high initial and recurring annual cost, Portering Services reached out to Information Management and Technology for a better solution. The Portering Services department was then integrated with ServicePRO, already being used by IM&T. Using the Self Service Portal, clinical staff can log portering requests immediately and receive confirmation they were received.
Porters are each assigned a mobile device, which they use to view the Self Service Portal as Support Reps and pick up portering requests. Through the use of business rules to dispatch incoming requests, some are passed directly to the porter queue, and others are dispatched to a manager review queue to be assessed and allocated as appropriate.
By implementing ServicePRO, Portering Services has dramatically improved its timeliness, efficiency and accountability. Clinical staff were initially hesitant about the new system, fearing this change to the established norm would actually increase the existing problems, but were impressed after their brief training sessions, often asking ‘Is that it? Is that all I have to do?’ They then saw immediate improvement in the response time of porters, and also enjoyed greater accountability. There is a clear audit trail on each request logged, and nothing slips through the cracks. In the fast-paced environment of a hospital, having to call the Portering Services dispatch numerous times waiting for the line to become available was a frustrating and costly waste of clinical resources. With the Self Service Portal implementation, clinical staff no longer have to wait, and can submit their requests immediately.
This has been so effective that the dispatch phone line for Portering Services in each hospital was decommissioned, allowing the Portering Supervisors to transition into a new role as Portering Duty Managers and perform management duties far more valuable to the Trust. Portering Management uses Data Analysis functionality in ServicePRO on a daily basis to extract information regarding performance. Using this new wealth of information, they have established SLAs with the departments they service, and can easily track their compliance and release this information to those departments for review. This information can also be used to provide feedback on porter performance and also to predict times of increased load to schedule additional porters accordingly. Porters themselves have enjoyed their new level of accountability, as exceptional performance of individuals and the department as a whole can be recognized by management.
The Portering Services department has branded their utilization of ServicePRO as the Pennine Portering Request Service (PPRS) and has received the 2015 Innovation Award from the Health, Estates & Facilities Management Association (HefmA) for their outstanding implementation.