NHS East of England Strategic Health Authority has implemented Huddle, an online collaboration application, to connect ten NHS organisations working on QIPP projects.

According to the SHA the new collaborative working tool was introduced because email was no longer found to be the best way for distributed team to to communicate and collaborate.

The strategic health authority, which is responsible for more than 40 local NHS organisations, is using the collaborative working tool to allow collaboration and information sharing between geographically dispersed teams following the launch of the national ‘Safety Express’ QIPP programme.

Under the Safety Express QIPP programme the SHA had to recruit ten host organisations to participate in the programme designed to patient harm from pressure ulcers, catheter acquired urinary tract infections, falls and venous thromboembolism.

Lyn McIntyre, head of clinical quality and patient safety, NHS East of England, said: “With such a large scale project to coordinate, we needed to be able to share documents with team members without filling up people’s inboxes and causing confusion over document versions.

“As the people involved in the programme are based at various locations, we also needed conferencing facilities so we could avoid the time and monetary expense of in-person meetings. What we really wanted was a system that could do everything.”

The SHA were already using Huddle on a smaller scale but decided to roll it out to more than 100 people as part of the programme to allow them to access information such as Department of Health papers, policy document and articles which are uploaded into a resource workspace from a single place.

The organisations also allows users to see the latest versions of documents when multiple people are contributing as well as providing an audit trail and comment functionality to ensure show what feedback and what updates have been made to content.

McIntyre added: “As Safety Express was a completely new work stream, there were no established ways of working already in place.

“Other than email, Huddle hasn’t replaced any tools or services, so people have become accustomed to using it from the project’s start. All project communication is now being done via Huddle.”