Driving patient care: how Interact has transformed engagement at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

As one of the largest community health providers in the country, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust faces many challenges in connecting more than 5500 members of staff across services ranging from community nursing to physiotherapy in the South East.

After implementing their new intranet, ‘Flo’, in 2016, the Trust has seen significant benefits across their organization. Here, Andy Crouch, Web and Digital Media Officer at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust tells their story.

Patient care is our top priority, and our staff are what makes Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust exceptional. We serve around 2 million people in the South East across a large geographical area, providing 70 different services. To go the extra mile and provide exemplary care, our staff need the right tools.

Life before Flo

Our previous intranet, named ‘StaffZone’, had become a dumping ground of information and was no longer fit for purpose.

Staff were struggling to find what they needed, with limited search capability making it hard for users to access what they needed to support their day to day roles. The intranet had grown to over 5,000 documents, as the Communications Team weren’t informed when documents were no longer needed or out of date.

It also didn’t facilitate engagement, so in effect it was just a one-way communication tool. We needed to find a better solution to ensure our people could access what they needed, when they needed it.

Partnering Interact

Before choosing Interact as our intranet partner, we had to undergo a thorough tendering process to ensure we found the right system for us. A powerful search to push content quickly and efficiently to our staff was key; we wanted to make finding information and documents easy and user-friendly.

We were also excited about bringing in a more social platform, which could help us engage our staff. Interact offered something completely unique; an intelligent system with a powerful search function and social features to bring our staff together and facilitate two-way conversations.

When reviewing the options, we felt Interact’s strength in these areas put it above anything else out there. In summer 2015, we selected Interact as our partner for the project.

Implementation of our new intranet

Although we faced a long procurement process, this gave us the time we needed to do the background work we needed to prepare for the new intranet. This included streamlining and cleansing our content down from 5,000 to just 1,200 pages.

We devised a new structure and using analytics from our old site alongside a staff survey, we could map out what staff wanted from the intranet and what was most popular. The idea was to take a staff-focused approach, rather than a top-down organisational one.

The brand: Introducing Flo

It was important for us to engage staff early on in the project. One of the things we chose to do was a name competition for our new intranet, getting everyone involved. The top three names went into a poll; these were Iris – goddess of communication, Curis – Latin for healthcare and Flo – short for Florence Nightingale.

kent nhs flo

The results were close and following a design meeting, Flo was the unanimous choice. It was a name we felt colleagues would be able to relate to, and offered great potential as a brand.

We began working on bringing Florence Nightingale, an iconic nursing figure form the 19th century, into the 21st century as the digital character ‘Flo’: a persona that colleagues would hopefully consider one of their own.

Bringing Flo alive took on different forms. We built a profile for Flo, having her author the majority of content and acting as a persona to reply to staff who have queries or ideas.

We continued the Flo brand into our marketing and communications for the new intranet; not just stylistically, but in the tone and way we worded messages. The key driver was to use Flo to describe how the intranet could help users.

kent nhs intranet

kent nhs intranet

The impact of Flo for Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

Since Flo launched in early 2016, it has proven to be a powerful, easy to use and engaging intranet for our staff. In our first month we had more than 140k visits from 4914 users, which is 88 per cent of active users… not bad going!

The impact is captured in our case study video, below:

We now have a system that is easy for staff to use and enables them to quickly find what they need, while also being easy for us to manage. The analytics provided by Interact mean we can see what’s popular, what staff are searching for and identify any gaps or issues quickly. We can easily update our homepage quick links or see what keywords and best bets need adding, continuing evolving and improving our intranet.

One particular feature that has proven effective for us is the Teams function; we call these ‘workspaces’. Here, staff can get involved, discuss best practice or ask questions and find specific content for a department, system or initiative. This has helped us reduce travel costs and ultimately improve patient care by ensuring staff have easier access to information and training compliance.

Engagement with Flo is significantly improved compared to our old system. We’re now at the stage where more and more staff are posting in forums, uploading photos and creating blogs: connecting our users and utilizing social features. We’ve streamlined our content and processes, making it easy for staff to know what training they need to do, to keep them up-to-date with news and tailor information to them.

The future for Flo

For us, Flo is a live and on-going project that we will continue to invest in. Using review surveys and analytics, we will look to gain feedback on how Flo is working and potential areas for improvement. It is our vision that our intranet will continue to evolve with new features and functions to help colleagues with their day-to-day roles.