Croydon Health Services NHS Trust launches pioneering app for increased staff engagement

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust has rolled out an app from Ryalto designed to improve the working and professional lives of its healthcare staff.

Croydon NHS Trust is now offering all of its 3,800 workers access to Ryalto - a platform that enables healthcare professionals to manage their working day and acts as a safe and singular source of communication for all employees. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock was present at the launch, and talked about the positive impact apps can have on the way health care staff manage their working lives.

The Trust has engaged Ryalto to improve staff engagement and explore more effective ways of reaching them. The traditional methods of communicating, such as newsletters and email, offer little insight and are proving dated in comparison to how people live their lives today, particularly on their mobiles. With Ryalto’s simple content management system, communication teams have a platform to disseminate news and information quickly, straight to staff’s phones. They are also able to send targeted messages, and critical announcements.

Matthew Kershaw, interim CEO, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust explained, “I am delighted that we have partnered with Ryalto to launch our CHS staff app for our colleagues. Its introduction has come at a key time when we are working hard to improve our engagement with each other across our teams and departments.”

Kershaw continued: “The app is reflective of how we live our lives today - on mobiles, with flexibility and in real-time. It offers a key digital channel for us to communicate with each other instantly, through the chat and news feed features, increasing opportunities for engagement and fostering a closer working environment where we work together to provide the best care for our patients.

“Staff at the Trust have responded really positively to the app, with over 1,000 signing up in the first month alone, and over 80 pieces of news, ranging from training opportunities to staff events and recognition, shared so far. We now have better access to analytics when it comes to our communication with staff, and are therefore able to make better, more measurable decisions.”

According to new figures released earlier this month from NHS Digital there has been a surge in the amount of sick time off needed by health staff. Last year (2018) NHS staff took almost 100,000 more days off due to stress than they did six years ago. In acute medicine, which treats the most serious and urgent cases, the number of sick days taken soared by 35%.

Katrina Percy, CEO, Ryalto said, “From individual staff members to the biggest organisations and NHS Trusts, there are massive gains to be made from empowering and engaging staff. Giving them a closed and secure platform to talk to each other and share information when they want to, is a great way to do this, while also improving communication and workplace satisfaction. At a time when stress and anxiety among NHS workers has never been higher, they continue to be driven by a passion for what they do, and need the time and space to manage their own working lives as well. Ryalto enables them to do just that.”

Another challenge the hospital is looking to address via the app’s Directory feature is making it easier for colleagues to locate and keep in touch with one another, particularly as Croydon provides a range of services for Croydon people in schools, clinics, and in people’s homes, alongside acute medical care. On the app, staff can search for colleagues by department, speciality, areas of work and more, and then message or call them straightaway, without needing to know their phone numbers.

Ryalto’s shift booking feature also helps the Trust reduce agency spend by decreasing reliance on agencies and filling more shifts from its staff bank.

Ryalto works with healthcare organisations in both the UK and US. Thousands of NHS staff use the app each day to access news and organisational information, chat with colleagues, and book shifts. Its technology is one of a number of ways the NHS and other organisations are looking to improve efficiencies and working practices.

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