North West Paediatric Neurosciences is a network of paediatric neurosurgeons, clinicians and health professionals from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Their mission is to improve standards of care across the North West for children with neurological conditions.
Our invitation to tender and the subsequent award for this project came as a result, in part, of the success of our similar work with the NHS Cleft Lip And Palate Network.
We worked with several key members of the network, in particular with the network manager, along with consultant paediatric neurosurgeon Conor Mallucci, to deliver another great project which we are very proud of.
The team required a secure website where they could store clinical information, as well as a site where patients and their parents can find information on their conditions.
The paediatric neuro team work remotely across the North West. This fragmented working, and their busy schedules meant that it was difficult for them to work collaboratively on projects of this nature. Due to the nature of their work, members of the team were often called away to emergencies and had to rearrange planning meetings. Our client was worried that this would slow the process down, as they were eager to have the site ready as soon as possible.
In addition to the challenges above, it was a requirement that the website administrator needed to be someone located within their team, so they could manage content to the website independently once it was live. The limited technical knowledge meant that we had to consider a content management system that was user-friendly both in the front and backend.
Furthermore, the existing content was scattered across several places in several formats, from physical copies in filing cabinets to various digital archives. This unorganised storage of content meant that most documents were never used due to accessibility issues. This highlighted the need for simple storage, archivability and accessibility of content, and was a major criteria of the new platform.
[The clients needed] a site where they could securely store and locate clinical information, as well as a site where patients and their parents can find information on their conditions.
Our chosen content management system for this project was WordPress. WordPress powers approximately 30% of the web and is not only a reliable CMS, but is extremely user-friendly.
Following the scoping-out of the technical and content needs, we identified some unique requirements for functionality, including a secure members area – relating to the protection of content specifically for clinicians.
Additional functionality that was provided included event management, brochure upload, advanced search facility, user profile and bios.
One of the main reasons we are very successful at delivering projects of this nature to the NHS is our ability to work at all levels, demonstrating clear project leadership skills. We arranged regular meetings to keep the project running on schedule despite the clients’ limited availability. We also requested that the client drip-fed content to us from the start, so that we could review their needs and feed back – it also gave us a head start on gathering and reformatting the content.
In summary, we created a great looking website with really good functionality, tailored exactly to the needs of each of the user groups. Patients and their parents can get information on the issues they might be facing, while professionals can access the members only section to read and contribute to the research. The website linked areas of neuroscience with the specialist teams who deal with these areas, keeping the relevant information in easy to find locations.
We also provided training, so that the neuro team could manage the site themselves through their new content management system.
The clients were so pleased with the results they recommended us to the NHS Cardiac Network, who have asked us to provide a similar service for them.