Barnsley Hospice delivers efficiency with Google Apps

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Barnsley Hospice

At a Glance

What they wanted

  • Manage communication across multiple sites
  • Migrate to a cloud-based solution
  • Improve accessibility whilst maintaining security

What they did

  • Deployed Google Apps
  • Deployed Google Docs
  • Deployed Google Sites

What they accomplished

  • Organisation-wide communication
  • Improved efficiency
  • Secure sharing and collaboration across 11 sites

Barnsley Hospice is a charity that provides specialist palliative care and support to hundreds of local people and their families each year.  Formed in 1985, their key objective is to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients with a life limiting illness, whilst supporting their families, during the period of illness and bereavement.  As a specialist care provider, the range of skills offered include, pain and symptom management, emotional support and end of life care.

The hospice is able to provide a comprehensive, seamless service to its patients through its close working relationship with Barnsley Hospital and community based palliative care providers such as Macmillan nurses, district nurses, and general practitioners.  It has developed links with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietician services and the Social Services Department to further enhance the overall provision of care; and also provides an ‘out of hours’ telephone advice line for service users.

As a non-profit charity, Barnsley Hospice has to raise over £2 million each year just to keep its services running.  This entails not just employing specialist nurses and doctors, but also to manage fundraising activities, retail staff, plus some 400 volunteers – making it a hugely complex organisation.

The hospice was looking for a flexible, sustainable and economical solution that would enable their 500+ staff and volunteers access to information from any location across the UK.  They also wanted guaranteed uptime with minimal ongoing maintenance and operational costs.  Ian Carey, Chief Executive of the Barnsley Hospice said: “There is a lot of flexible working, the hospice operates 24/7 and the healthcare regulatory framework involves a lot bureaucracy. The hospice needed a solution that would make it easy to share information and encourage joint working on projects.”

The key challenge was not only to provide a financially feasible and robust system for the hospice, but to enable the organisation to truly collaborate and share information across 11 sites.

After a detailed consultation, the hospice chose to deploy Google Apps for Business as its solution, as it would not only allowed them to standardise their email, implement a robust anti-spam and malware functionality, but also enabled the business to organise itself more productively using calendars.

Damson Cloud was on hand during the implementation phase, assisting on site with the safe migration of data and setup of the new system.

Change Management was imperative to the success of the project, particularly as many of the staff within the organisation lacked technical skills.  “Some of our staff had never had email”, the Chief Executive admitted, adding “The easy to use Google Apps interface made our transition smoother.”

Barnsley hospice is now using Google Apps for Business on a daily basis, having rolled out the system across all 11 of its sites.  The initial pilot scheme which began in 2009 was initially focused on providing email and calendar functionality; now however, Google Apps is the first choice for all documentation and spreadsheet creation within the business.

With over 130 users, some of which are regular home workers, collaboration and sharing of documentation has both improved productivity and quality across the organisation.  Whilst the development of a hospice intranet, using Google Sites, has resulted in a significant improvement in terms of communication across the business: allowing internal news and policies to be more accessible than ever.  Google forms are being increasingly used to capture important data, and the in-built analytics has proved to be highly beneficial to compiling and reviewing this information.  Performance indicators and the hospice’s financial management accounts are now all done using Google Spreadsheets and can be shared securely and quickly with just a few mouse clicks.

The Chief Executive, Ian Carey was impressed with the immediate and long-term results, stating: “All the development has been done easily in-house, resulting in more resourced being devoted to patient care, which for our patients is very important.”

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