Mid Mersey Digital Alliance (MMDA) is an NHS IT shared service supporting multiple partner and customer organisations, both inside and outside of the NHS, encompassing primary care, secondary care, hospices, and charitable organisations. The IT Service Desk consists of a team of engineers working in and out of hours supporting the partner and customer organisations with first-line support on a 24/7/365 basis. The IT Service Desk works closely with the Business Relationship Team in MMDA to ensure that partner and customer strategic aims are met and that services are value based and co-created.
Why the ‘Service Desk Certification‘ Journey?
Having been members of the SDI for several years, we wanted to take the opportunity to pursue an industry-recognised accreditation and the Service Desk Certification (SDC) programme was the ideal choice for us. The Service Desk team has always worked to a high standard and whilst we thought that our processes were good, we had little evidence to benchmark them against.
The process involved the whole of the MMDA team and helped to facilitate continued seamless cross-organisational service delivery, raising awareness and understanding of the role of each department in addressing both current issues and the future needs of the partners and customers.
The SDC programme was an excellent opportunity to test the processes, to help us to facilitate further continuous service improvement and, hopefully, to achieve Certification to a high level.
Achieving 3-star Certification for our first audit and then following it up with a 4-Star Certification at the first ‘Surveillance audit’ was fantastic. It has allowed us to market the service more effectively, which will hopefully allow us to grow the business further.
Progressing from 3 to 4-star Certification
Here are some of the main factors that influenced the improvements from 3star to 4star:
Improving customer engagement to ensure that the co-creation of value was at the heart of every service delivered. A good example of this is the creation of new roles in the team that now focus on digital optimisation within primary care. The team is now customer focused and constantly working to improve the use of technology to support customers.
Improved reporting and evidence building, allowing the MMDA team to demonstrate their service effectively and drive continuous service improvements.
Key performance indicators have been refined and improved to include not only standard ‘warranty’ KPIs but to relate these specifically to customer and partner plans. They now include ‘utility’ and ‘experience’ KPIs. All are co-created with partners and customer involvement, helping to eliminate the ‘watermelon effect’ which sometimes occurs if KPIs are showing as met, but customer satisfaction is showing as low.
Key changes made as a result of the SDC programme
We have made numerous changes across the team to enhance the service that we deliver for our users. One of these changes has been the introduction of a dedicated service delivery meeting across all the different IT functions. Business Relationship managers meet regularly with the Service Desk team and with taskforce engineers, enabling an even closer relationship with the real issues at the front line of healthcare.
Over 95% Customer Satisfaction
This has allowed us to manage incidents and requests more effectively through collaboration, and has resulted in a large reduction in the total number of open calls at any time, and a reduction in breached calls. This has, in turn, resulted in a lower number of hierarchical escalations\complaints and has resulted in a customer satisfaction rating of over 95%.
86% Reduction of Open Problems
We have also done a lot of work around the reporting functions both internally and externally. This has given more transparency into the team and has allowed us to drive improvements as the key areas to develop became more apparent. One area this has had a significant impact on is problem management, with a reduction of 86%.
Driving digital acceleration in the face of pandemic-induced service pressure
One particular challenge has been the effects of the pandemic on the NHS. The added pressure on services and the requirement for additional IT support led to delays, affecting changes that we wanted to undertake to improve services. However, whilst this has been a challenge it has also been an excellent opportunity to accelerate digital maturity within the organisation, utilising tools to enable more collaborative working for the benefit of both staff and patients.
Other benefits from SDC
Another extremely positive outcome from undertaking the Certification programme has been the effect on staff satisfaction. Focusing on the development and wellbeing of staff that the improvements have encouraged has led to a more engaged and happier team as shown by improved employee satisfaction ratings.
I would highly recommend the SDC programme to other organisations. The in-depth knowledge of the auditors and the SDI staff has been hugely beneficial to the development of the service. The audit and subsequent report that is received helps to drive service improvement and has resulted in a better overall service for our users.
“We are absolutely delighted to gain the 4-star Business-led Certification. We feel it gives real recognition to the team in terms of the huge challenges and hard work they have been doing over the years, and to now be able to back that up with the Certification and star rating is great. The process has really helped to focus the whole team on our key strategic aim – that of patient care.”
Nigel Cotton, Deputy I.T. Operations Manager, MMDA