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How can cloud tools assist in engaging NHS stakeholders at a lower cost?


Stakeholder engagement is an essential part of the marketing process, not just for organisations that want to align their marketing activities with their audience’s needs. It’s a challenge for companies of all sizes and it’s more important than ever. In this article, we’ll explain how to cut costs of NHS stakeholder engagement using information and cloud tools that are readily available.

Challenges in NHS Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement remains an ongoing challenge for the NHS, even though many organisations under its umbrella have no problems getting people to engage with the health service.

After all, nearly everyone in the UK holds an opinion about the NHS and has direct experience of its services. It employs some 1.7 million people across the UK and many of us are deeply invested in its future, with the election campaign now bringing the issues facing the NHS into even sharper focus.

Throughout the health service, the challenge is not fostering engagement, but effectively managing that stakeholder engagement by identifying and prioritising key stakeholder groups.

The scale and complexity of the task can be daunting, so it was interesting to see Musgrove Park Hospital NHS Trust in Somerset hand a stakeholder engagement brief to health communications and PR agency Road earlier this year. With a typically large and diverse number of stakeholders to consider, many NHS organisations may fear being swamped if they do not enlist external support.

However, it’s also important for NHS organisations to start internally when creating a stakeholder engagement plan – and select the right tools and information to carry out that plan.

The ‘9 Cs’ of Stakeholders

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement offers some guidance for organisations seeking to identify, prioritise, understand and manage their stakeholders. The fact that it recommends using the ‘9 Cs’ for the purpose of stakeholder identification provides a clue about the sheer number and diversity of stakeholders involved in the NHS.

The ‘9 Cs’ of Stakeholders:

Commissioners: those who pay the organisation to do things

Customers: those who acquire and use the organisation’s products and information

Collaborators: those with whom the organisation works to develop and deliver products

Contributors: those from whom the organisation acquires information and content for products

Channels: those who provide the organisation with a route to a market or customer

Commentators: those whose opinions of the organisation are heard by customers and others

Consumers: those who are served by our customers: i.e. patients, families, users

Champions: those who believe in and will actively promote the project

Competitors: those working in the same area who offer similar or alternative services and information

The Role of Cloud Collaboration Tools in NHS Stakeholder Engagement

It’s clear that identifying stakeholders is an extensive process in its own right, but this is only the first step. To make prioritising the needs of different stakeholder groups easier, it’s common practice to use a mapping grid like the one below (adapted from a document produced by the NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group in West Yorkshire).

As guidance from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement shows, this type of grid can easily be expanded to include more information with nine boxes (running from low to moderate to high along each axis) for a large project with a particularly diverse set of stakeholders.

The point is that the level of interest and influence exerted by each stakeholder group is clearly defined, and their needs are prioritised. An informed decision about the most appropriate method of engaging with and managing each group can then be made – and this is where the cloud comes in.

Stakeholder influence board

If we consider the diverse needs of stakeholder groups in today’s NHS, it’s clear that traditional methods of stakeholder engagement just aren’t adequate. The mapping grid categorises stakeholders into four basic groups: those you must work closely with (high influence/high interest), those you must consider (low influence/high interest), those you must inform with minimal effort (low influence/low interest), and those you must keep satisfied (high influence/low interest).

However, even the standard methods used to engage the lowest interest/influence group, like creating advertisements and posting letters, can be expensive and time-consuming. Actively sharing information and collaborating with key stakeholders through face-to-face meetings can be even more inefficient and difficult to organise, often leading to further expenses.

As with many of the other challenges currently facing the health service, the answer lies in the successful integration of digital channels for stakeholders. A digital stakeholder engagement strategy, using cloud collaboration software that provides a secure online workspace for stakeholders to share ideas, take part in consultations and store important files, can provide the NHS with an inexpensive solution to a long-standing problem. To find out more, download our free guide on how to transform public sector stakeholder engagement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, engaging stakeholders in the NHS is a complex process due to the number and diversity of the stakeholders involved. However, cloud tools can dramatically enhance this process by offering an efficient, scalable, and cost-effective platform for collaboration and communication. These tools not only enable stakeholders to share ideas and participate in consultations, but they also facilitate efficient information exchange and decision-making processes.

By leveraging cloud tools, the NHS can ensure that all perspectives and interests are considered, fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment that is integral to the successful delivery of change projects.

Ready to create an effective stakeholder engagement strategy? Visit here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is NHS stakeholder analysis, and why is it important?

NHS stakeholder analysis is the process of identifying and assessing the individuals or groups that have an interest or stake in a particular change project within the NHS. These stakeholders can include a variety of people, such as clinicians, administrative staff, patients, and user groups. The analysis is crucial because it allows you to identify everyone who needs to be involved in the project and assess how much time and resources should be allocated to maintain their involvement and commitment. Actively engaging these diverse stakeholders is integral to the successful delivery of the change project, as it fosters a collaborative and inclusive environment, ensuring all perspectives and interests are considered.

How can cloud tools assist in NHS stakeholder engagement?

Cloud tools can greatly assist in NHS stakeholder engagement by providing a platform for seamless collaboration and communication. They allow stakeholders to share ideas, participate in consultations, and store important files all in one secure online space. This facilitates efficient information exchange and decision-making processes. Moreover, using cloud tools can significantly cut down costs associated with traditional methods of stakeholder engagement, such as face-to-face meetings and postal communications. They also offer scalability and accessibility, enabling stakeholders to engage and collaborate effectively regardless of their location.

How can stakeholders in the NHS leverage cloud tools for effective collaboration?

Stakeholders in the NHS can leverage cloud tools for effective collaboration by using them as a platform for communication, information sharing, and project coordination. This can involve creating shared workspaces, utilising real-time collaborative tools for document editing and decision making, and using project management features for task delegation and progress tracking. Moreover, cloud tools also allow stakeholders to participate in discussions and provide feedback, fostering a more inclusive and transparent environment.

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