Image shows illustration of NHS workers' photographic identifications

Building a ground-breaking digital HR system for the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Our client is one of the biggest NHS Trusts in the UK. Residing in the fifth largest county, the Northumbria NHS Trust cares for a population of over 500,000 people across Northumberland and North Tyneside. This care is supported by a team of over 9000 staff spread across 30 remote sites.

With such a big geographical area to support, the Trust’s HR department required a way to manage their confidential staff records efficiently, all while keeping the same record security line managers were used to.

The huge data management challenge

On the surface, this task seemed like a straightforward HR Casefile Project for our class-leading EDMS, Therefore. However, following a thorough scoping exercise with the brilliant project team at the Trust, we discovered both the security and data management requirements were more complex than we first thought.

Although daunting, the skilled development team at Datatron presented a project plan that addressed this complex requirement.

Updating cumbersome paper processes

With healthcare staff spread over 5000 square kilometres, the current method of HR file management was very manual, with each line manager holding the paper file within the department. Although this allowed for easy access, transferring records to the central HR department for review (or to another line manager during a staff transfer process) was a time-consuming logistical task.

The Trust required an intelligent Digital HR system that could update their metadata and track the management hierarchy in real-time. The source of this critical information was held on the IBM ESR System, which is responsible for the management of over one million NHS staff nationally.

Stage 1: Planning and testing

The project was large, to say the least, with:

  • 18,000 staff members (in total)
  • 1200 supervisors
  • Over 375,000 documents that needed scanning

As this was such an intricate undertaking, we assembled a dedicated team consisting of both Northumbria NHS and Datatron staff. The team remained the same throughout the project, enabling us to get consistent results from our relentless development and testing program.

After building the secure test environment for the team, Datatron set about developing its most complex interface yet.

Stage 2: The interface

The advantage of Therefore as an HR records management platform is its versatility.

With an available API and Datatron’s highly skilled coding team, we created a bespoke interface to manage the complex hierarchy and staff metadata in real-time.

This unique application ensured that the correct line managers could only see the records of their own staff. However, should that member of staff move department, the security would move with them, and so their role and manager would be updated. Multiply this by 18,000 staff and multiple assignments and managers, and you now have one of the most dynamic HR systems available.

Stage 3: It’s alive!

The system successfully went live in January 2021. It’s now accessible by all managers and HR staff right across the large geographical spread of the Northumbria NHS Trust.

The Casefile layout, designed by Datatron, delivers a perfectly structured HR record with strict document naming conventions. This regimented approach allows for accurately named files and an automated retention process, which ensures individual documents are managed in line with current compliance policies.

An efficient, digital-driven future

Adopting a fully integrated digital HR system is just the start of the journey for the Northumbria NHS Trust. Indeed, we've already started further process automation with the development of digital risk assessments, which link directly to the HR record.

Integrating e-forms and workflows with the digital HR records is projected to save the Trust thousands of hours in manual process. But the benefits don't stop there. As well as improving accuracy and compliance, these digital processes provide valuable reporting data that will enhance the Trust's performance for years to come.

Keen to find out how we could replicate this success in your healthcare organisation? Reach out to our team today.


Download case study

Back to Blog