Helping NHS trusts to remain competitive

We talk to Optevia’s Steve Lyon to find out how Microsoft Dynamics CRM is helping NHS trusts to effectively compete against private healthcare organisations

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 19 November 2015
Helping NHS trusts to remain competitive

This article first appeared in the Autumn 2015 issue of OnWindows magazine.

Competition to provide community-based healthcare services – which include rehabilitative therapies, palliative care, district and school nursing, mental health, urgent care centres and more – is particularly strong in England. While primary healthcare services are nationally managed by NHS England, multiple clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for planning and commissioning community-based healthcare services in their respective local areas. Since the CCGs were established in April 2013, they have been able to choose any accepted public or private healthcare organisations to provide these services, making it harder for NHS foundation trusts to win service contracts.

“If a London CCG issues a tender for a new mental health service, for example, NHS trusts could be competing against private healthcare providers like Virgin and Capita, which already have a lot of experience at bidding for services,” says Steve Lyon, business development director of Health and Housing at Optevia. “NHS trusts know that to continue to win contracts, they must improve how they prepare proposals and market their services to CCGs and stakeholders, particularly as community-based services can easily be managed from any geographical location.”

Recognising this, many Optevia customers have adopted an entrepreneurial approach, deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage all interactions with CCGs and stakeholders including GPs, nurses, suppliers, key decision makers, charities, patients and local authorities.

“Dynamics CRM plays a key role in helping trusts to monitor the progress of individual partnerships, gain a detailed overview of their existing contracts, market their services, or capitalise on service renewal and potential new business opportunities,” says Lyon. “It also highlights management tasks and automatically flags concerns related to individual stakeholder accounts to ensure the trust provides the best possible customer service.”

The platform is also a vital tool for managing marketing campaigns and developing tender proposals, adds Lyon. “Trusts can use Dynamics CRM to showcase their services by creating marketing campaigns and managing e-mail or social media communications with its members, the public, stakeholders and the CCGs,” he explains. “We’re also helping trusts to link Dynamics CRM into their websites to extract and analyse statistics to track the levels of ­engagement against particular streams and thereby find ways to improve patient engagement.”

To date, Optevia has helped NHS trusts to harness Dynamics CRM to improve stakeholder engagement, streamline operations and thereby provide an enhanced patient experience. For example, the company’s long-term customer Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust has implemented Dynamics CRM to monitor stakeholder engagement and to manage patient enquiries and complaints.

Recently, Optevia also implemented Dynamics CRM into NHS England’s contact centres, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s commercial directorate and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.

“In addition to monitoring contract compliance and managing partnerships via Dynamics CRM, NHS trusts use the platform to capitalise on opportunities to grow business and provide new services in different areas of the country,” says Lyon.

Optevia has also helped NHS trusts employ cloud-based tools such as Microsoft Social ­Engagement to identify and analyse comments related to their brand or services on social media sites, blogs and news resources. 

“Microsoft added new filtering, analytics and data visualisation capabilities to Social Engagement in April and, later this year, we will be able to integrate the solution into the trusts’ Dynamics CRM platforms so relevant social media posts will automatically be flagged for action,” he says, adding that Optevia aims to start building these capabilities into the new NHS England web portal later this year. “For example, if a patient shares a public post about their recent operation at a named hospital, it will be picked up by specific search terms in Social Engagement and will be highlighted in the CRM system so it can be followed up by a trust representative. Not only does this provide an efficient platform for trusts to monitor patient demands, but it also collates evidence of how they are improving services in response to patient feedback, which will strengthen any future business proposals.”

Lyon continues: “The business drivers are there and Dynamics CRM plays a key role in helping NHS trusts to manage all of their services, tender proposals and stakeholder relationships, and, ultimately, win more service contracts.”


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