North East Ambulance Service Drives Digital Transformation

About North East Ambulance Service

The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) operates across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Darlington and Teesside. They provide an Unscheduled Care Service to respond to emergency calls, and a Scheduled Care service which provides pre-planned non-emergency transport for patients in the region. 

The challenge

NEAS were working through a Digital Transformation Project with Office 365, including a new SharePoint Online Intranet to replace their previous system, and incorporating Office 365 Apps into their internal communications landscape. 

NEAS employs 3,000 staff, working across the North East of England with many staff spending most of their working day remotely in ambulances with little time to interact with the organisation. Communication is challenging, but vitally important in order to keep an efficient, safe service operating. 

At the outset of the project, we identified 5 key success factors: 

  • Reduce the high level of email traffic sent throughout the organisation 
  • Provide a solution that’s easy to access outside of the organisation 
  • Provide an improved user experience by utilising modern document management processes 
  • Provide an improved collaboration platform to allow users to work together more efficiently 
  • Provide a solution that reduces the number of paper-based processes that are followed within the organisation. 

The solution

We developed a systematic approach to collecting requirements for Corporate Intranet projects. SharePoint Online Intranet Accelerator “The Hub” gives an ideal framework for quickly assembling the core elements, giving us time to focus on adding value by creating solutions to match the specific needs of the situation. 

As there were many aspects to the project, a multi-disciplinary team was created, covering communications, IT, data governance and operations. This team allowed us to consult more widely with the organisation, in particular looking at the current intranet and online tools, and surveying end-users to find out what worked and what didn’t. 

The outcome

Over the course of the project, we successfully built a new SharePoint Online Intranet based on The Hub that was fully mobile friendly. This allows the distribution of news, policies, HR information and procedural information to everybody in NEAS, available 24/7 as people have time or need to access it. 

Other improvements that we made included: 

  • Directories for data management, such as, people and location finders. 
  • Introduction of Site Provisioning processes to allow for multiple sites to be generated by the Intranet Project Team using templates and automated processes – utilising SharePoint, Flow and Azure. 
  • A full rebuild/rebrand of the Emergency Operations Centre SharePoint structure to allow critical information to be located quickly during 24/7 emergency shift work. 
  • A SharePoint, Power App & Power BI Digital Service to manage critical policies & procedures within the organisation. This system provided read/acceptance receipts for important documents – everything from HR procedures to safe delivery of medication procedures. 
  • Training and mentoring of key NEAS Employees to allow them the succeed as Digital Superheroes, Content Authors and SharePoint Developers. 

"Transparity took the time to accurately gather requirements from each work stream in the project before creating a solution. They were very flexible in their approach to cascading their knowledge and input and were very supportive throughout the process. We had regular contact with Transparity and were able to establish clear lines of communication and what we expected as the project progressed. We had the opportunity to host Transparity on site so they could see for themselves the unique working environment we are in. This allowed them to see first had the challenges and benefits we were facing from developing a digital transformation project. We are more than pleased with the result and are keen to embrace the new technology to enhance our service."

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