St Luke’s relationship with Eduserv started when the charity wanted to explore ways it could maintain service levels for patients in a very challenging and changing economic environment.
With digital transformation programmes proven to improve both efficiency and productivity in many charities, St Luke’s knew that the way forward would lie with new technology and needed expert external advice on how to embrace that in a way that would be most effective for them.
“Like all Hospices across the UK, we’re currently facing cuts in the funding we receive from the NHS,” explains Tony Saunders, Director of Finance and Operations for St Luke’s. “We used to be 40% funded by the NHS, but now that figure is just 26%.”
“Of course, we address the shortfall by putting even more effort into fundraising, but this will only take us so far. We have to make sure we’re being as innovative as possible with technology to make sure we can maintain and enhance the service our patients deserve with fewer resources. For that, you need both direction and a clear vision.”
St Luke’s turned to Eduserv to help them with this. In response, Eduserv developed a retainer model that gave St Luke’s regular access to a lead digital consultant (Head of Digital Services, Tim Cockle)as well as ‘on tap’ access to its skills and resources in other areas, ranging from legal and contracts to software and infrastructure.
“We didn’t have the expertise in house, so we needed external support,” explains Saunders. “Eduserv has provided a consultancy and support model that meets our needs perfectly.”
Proof of the model’s success has come with the development and roll out of eShift, a software solution that helped St Luke’s utilise mobile devices
in community nursing, enabling access to digital care records and the capture of clinical data, observations and assessments at the point of care,
and this together with the delegation of care has enabled more efficient use of resources.
The St Luke’s team identified that the solution was well placed to meet its own needs and was able to secure funding from the NHS Nursing Technology Fund to carry out a trial. Until recently eShift – which is provided by Canadian company Sensory Technologies – had never been used before in the UK. So the challenge was how to ensure that eShift would work in the UK.
“Eduserv has helped us from every angle, assisting us in understanding the technical requirements while also helping to negotiate contracts and SLAs, which the vendor (Sensory Technologies) had
never considered for the UK market before,” says Saunders.
“Crucially, Eduserv also did a great job developing a business case that helped us communicate the benefits and value of eShift to our Trustees, which is vital in any charity if you want to get support for your initiatives for the long term.”
With Eduserv’s help, eShift has been successfully piloted by St Luke’s and is now looking to expand implementation further. The software has shown that it can help to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and ensures that more terminally ill people across Sheffield can be supported using fewer resources. Based on reduced hospital admissions and a range of other cost saving benefits, evaluation figures produced by University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) have shown that the benefit to the local health economy could be in the region of £2.6m.
“With the support and advice Eduserv has provided us, we’ve more than justified the initial funding provided by the Nursing Technology Fund. We achieved a saving in the acute setting that is more than 10 times their original £250k investment,” says Saunders.
St Luke’s now has its own framework for moving any future technology-driven plans forward. “What’s been really pleasing is that we’ve been able to work with Eduserv to develop an overarching technology strategy into which our future plans to improve services via digital will fit,” says Saunders. “For us and the people we serve, that’s almost priceless.”