Discovering valuable information in minutes, not hours

Patchwork has been designed to make life easier for practitioners for the benefit of their clients.

Some people prefer to use it as a super-charged phonebook, reducing the time spent calling around organisations trying to find out if other agencies are involved with their client.

Others prefer using attentions to keep in touch with their colleagues at other organisations. There’s no wrong way to use Patchwork.

What all of the people using Patchwork share in the common is the need for Patchwork to help them get their tasks done quickly and efficiently.

Our latest improvements – inspired by conversations with users and watching them use the system – help ensure Patchwork is easy to use, whichever way you use it.

Clear next steps and support

We’ve introduced banners to the main pages in Patchwork to help both new and existing users see at-a-glance how Patchwork can help them and their clients.

New banner on the dashboard

Be the first to know via automated email alerts

Patchwork’s not an “every day” tool — it’s there when you need it. By taking a few seconds to connect to your clients on Patchwork you’ll ensure that you’re automatically  alerted via email about important updates.  These include whenever colleagues join or leave your client’s team or when they have important information to share with you.

 

Automated alert emails for important client updates

 

Connect to clients easily with improved search

We’ve tweaked the search feature in Patchwork to provide you with more accurate results in a clearer display. This makes it easier to find the client, colleague or organisation you’re looking for.

Responding to user feedback, our Australian users now see statewide results first. Users can then filter results by their local areas to help find the most relevant local information.
More accurate search results

Simplified sign-on for easy access when you need it

There’s few things more frustrating than forgetting your password and then having to go round the houses just to try and reset it.

We’ve simplified the password reset process to ensure that you can use Patchwork when you need it.

 

What do you think?

Please remember, we’re always interested to hear what you think about Patchwork. Let us know if you have any comments or feedback on the system.

The more you know about your clients, the easier it is to help them. Find out who’s connected to your clients

Happy holidays from the Patchwork Team

A simplified design to bring you quicker results

We’ve streamlined Patchwork to make it smoother and speedier to connect with the other professionals who are supporting your clients.

These recent improvements cover several core features of Patchwork including;

  • Signing up as a new user
  • Finding your clients
  • Adding your clients
  • Viewing your client’s team of practitioners

 

Straightforward sign-up

We’ve made it simple for new users to activate their Patchwork accounts and discover the other professionals working with their clients.

This includes clearer email invites explaining what Patchwork is and how to get started. We’ve also added an interactive walkthrough to help new users find their first clients.

New users now experience a guided walkthrough to help familiarise them with how Patchwork can help their client

New users now experience a guided walkthrough to help familiarise them with how Patchwork can help their client

 

Fewer steps to see your connections

You can now connect to your clients even faster as we’ve added the option to join their team directly from the search results screen.

It’s now also quicker to add your clients to Patchwork if they are not already part of the network. We’ve made adding clients a seamless step from the search process to help as many of your clients benefit from the joined up support that Patchwork enables.

New Add Client Screen

It’s now easier to add your client if they aren’t already on Patchwork

 

Clearer view of your client’s team

We’ve redesigned the client pages to help you see at-a-glance the other professionals and organisations involved in your client’s life.

We’ve brought the other professionals contact details front and centre, as well as the option to email the entire team with a click. This is great for arranging multi-agency meetings or sharing updates about your client.

New client team page

Get a quicker overview of your clients team and how to contact them with the re-designed client pages

 

We hope these changes will help make it easier for you to use Patchwork to join up the support for your clients.

Please get in touch with us at support@patchworkhq.com if you have any questions, feedback or suggestions.

The Patchwork Team

Patchwork now helps you see search results closer to home

We’re excited to share the news about our latest updates to Patchwork which make it easier for you to find relevant information:

Discover local information first
As part of our latest Australian update to Patchwork, we’ve made it easier for you to find your clients — as well as other local professionals and agencies working with them.

Anytime you perform a search on Patchwork, you’ll now first be shown relevant results within the local Council areas inside your District. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can easily expand these search results to cover a larger area.

Patchwork Local Area Default Search View

Patchwork now searches in your local areas first

 

If you’re already a member of any clients’ teams on Patchwork, you will be automatically allocated to the same local areas as they are. You can ensure that you always see the most relevant search results by simply logging into your Patchwork account and editing your profile to choose the areas you’re most interested in.

 

Slicker experience on smaller screens
As well as improving search capabilities, we’ve also improved site design so that it works better on smaller screens and mobile devices. This helps making using patchwork much smoother on tablets, laptops, and smartphones.

The main way we made this happen was by replacing clunky lists of information with easy-to-read cards that resize to fit the screen you’re using — so you may notice that a few pages look different the next time you log in.

Patchwork Responsive Card Display

New responsive design makes it easier to use Patchwork on smaller screens

Clear picture of connections for local leads
Finally, we’ve also provided local administrators with a much clearer picture of how our network of professionals connected by Patchwork is growing by allowing them to break down data by local council areas. This means that they can now better spot opportunities to grow the network.

Admin Dashboard Area Filter

Admins can now see data breakdowns for a local area

What do you think?

Please remember, we’re always interested to hear what you think about Patchwork. Let us know if you have any comments or feedback on the system.

And remember, you can use Patchwork every day to:

  • Find practitioners and agencies in the handy ‘phone book’
  • Add clients and invite workers to join your clients’ teams
  • Invite new colleagues to use Patchwork
  • Raise an attention for a client you are working with

Warm regards,

The Patchwork Team
www.patchworkhq.com

Patchwork Featured in Report on Building Tech-Powered Public Services

Building Tech-Powered Public Serbices

Building Tech-Powered Public Services is a new report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), looking at digital innovations in health and social care.

There are 7 major case studies in the report, including Patchwork. The other case studies are Casserole Club (a community that links people who like cooking with their neighbours who are in need of a hot meal), ADL SmartcareMental ElfPatient Opinion, The Digital Pen and form system and Woodland Wiggle.

These grassroots projects focus on the frontline experience of delivering and receiving public services, and avoid some of the pitfalls of top-down IT projects.

Sarah Bickerstaffe, the report’s author, answers two main questions:

Can technology improve the experience of people using public services?

“Technology can improve people’s experience of receiving public services, just as it has improved the user experience in so many other sectors. In health and social care particularly, the era of chronic conditions – which cannot be cured and are caused in large part by lifestyle factors – means that technology can play a critical role in placing power, responsibility and control in the hands of individuals to help them manage their own health.”

Could tech-powered public services be an affordable, sustainable solution to some of the challenges of austerity?

“Technology can also help to bear down on bureaucracy and ensure that the transactional elements of public services are as efficient as possible. More significantly, it can make a contribution to delivering more preventative services that stop or delay problems escalating, costing the taxpayer more downstream.”

There were clear and consistent lessons on how to successfully implement tech innovations in public services, which is covered on the FutureGov blog.

Here is the full Patchwork case study, but we encourage you to download the full report on the IPPR website.

Patchwork

Patchwork emerged when FutureGov founder Dominic Campbell watched a documentary on the catastrophic failings in care in the ‘Baby P’ case.

Campbell had experience working in local government as a head of back office strategy, as well as experience of implementing big IT systems.

He explains that while working within local government he became disillusioned by technology consisting of ‘inelegant inhuman systems that make you rewire your brain rather than fitting into the world around you’.

He was astonished that the terrible circumstances around Baby P were able to come about ‘in an era of Facebook’, when the general public can be so closely connected to one another .Campbell explains that he wondered:

‘How can one case worker not know what another might be concerned with?… I found information governance wouldn’t let us share information within ourselves, let alone across organisations … so putting that together with the [Baby P] documentary I thought “I know it doesn’ t have to be this way”.’

Instead, he became interested in the potential of:

‘… using modern open source networked technology to work in areas like CRM [customer relation management] and case management in particular – so a lot around case records and joining the dots a lot of the time between silos of information in the public sector to make sure that the public sector is working as well as possible and also empowering practitioners to do the best job possible.’

This process saw the founding of FutureGov, set up around five years ago, to begin to think about new ways of developing technology for and with the public sector.

The organisation benefitted from early Nesta investment, and used this to spend six months testing the Patchwork hypothesis with Lichfield in Staffordshire.

This process began with 12 weeks of design interventions and roughly 8–10 weeks of prototyping. Campbell explains:

‘We think that design research is totally fundamental to articulating the problem accurately … [Patchwork] has been going on for about three and a half years now, and I would say that a year and a half of that at least has been around design research of one form or another. In that first six months [design research] was two-thirds of it. Easily 50 per cent of our time.’

Following a pilot of the project in Lichfield, FutureGov expanded the process and went on to develop Patchwork in Brighton and Surr ey local authorities.

Impact

Quality of care: In connecting different practitioners around a child or family that they are working with, Patchwork can lead to better, more complete decisions and earlier interventions.

Practitioners can express concerns and add comments and observations, all without sharing confidential case information. In cr eating a ‘social network-like’ environment around an individual, outside agencies, GPs, local authority practitioners, education services and other health practitioners can see who else is working with the child or family in question, and get in touch with queries or comments.

A user -centred design process ensures that the programme is tailored to suit the users and that the various levels of team are satisfied with its use, meaning a more efficient take-up.

Productivity: Patchwork can save time for frontline staff, avoiding the need to spend time calling around to find out who is dealing with a child or family .

It can help to build relationships between health and social care agencies and enable earlier intervention to prevent problems developing and worsening.

Insofar as it pr events children and families from developing a need for more intensive public services, such as hospital stays or foster care, Patchwork has the potential to have a big impact on productivity, but it is very difficult to quantify the potential savings fr om avoiding future costs.

Wider lessons

For FutureGov, the first problems were a lack of trust and of basic contemporary and social technology literacy. So Campbell says that their initial work was around:

‘… teaching them the basics, just trying to get them to get back … to the possibility of major corporate transformation through social technology. But they were so behind you had to show them the basics and make the market before they could even imagine that it was trustworthy enough to do something serious with.’

FutureGov also encountered specific resistance in the working culture of the local authorities to the idea of transparency.

Campbell talks about how digital technology ‘codifies’ practice – how normal, logical practice quite often happens outside of official frameworks of behaviour.

Putting this into a system as a supported behaviour acknowledges practices that everyone does in day-to-day work, but no one talks about.

These are actions that officially might be frowned upon but are taken because the practitioner believes them to be in the best interest of the service user.

Exposing these practices can be incredibly disruptive:

‘Patchwork is so challenging as a change to working, in ways we didn’ t even realise … people moan about the silos [of information on cases] when they’re in them and how disruptive they are to services, but if you give them the opportunity to join up those silos you realise that kind of openness and connectivity terrifies them … It’s like going from dark to light overnight, you’ve gone from “this is my case, it’s locked down, I know I’m the only person who can see this stuff, I can write whatever I want about this individual” to the next moment where, for example, the drug and alcohol team are terrified because even though there’s no information sharing (it’s just a way of connecting practitioners) the police and JobCentre can see that they’ve also got a connection to that client. That’s suddenly … a new level of transparency and openness that they’re just not used to.’

Frontline workers also sometimes felt that they did not have the capacity needed to learn how to use a new technology.

While the Patchwork software is timesaving, learning how to work with it does require an initial time investment. An internal evaluation document produced by FutureGov notes that a significant response from practitioners (especially around the adoption of technology while ‘in development’) was a concern about a lack of time.

‘Another participant saw this as an additional administrative task that duplicated work already undertaken for their own agency/service requirements by stating that s/he had already ‘a lot of admin tasks for our own record keeping’. It became apparent that participants ‘only [saw] this as a pilot’ and thus the amount of ef fort given to contribute and maintain Patchwork when balancing challenging workloads was reduced. One participant summed this up by stating ‘ if other people don’t get in involved maybe we haven’t got to do it ’. Some practitioners made it clear that they were ‘told’ to work with Patchwork, but workloads prohibited any deep engagement. Notwithstanding the ease of use of Patchwork … participants felt it was difficult to remember to log on and contribute to the system. They proposed that it has not yet become automatic to go to Patchwork as part of their daily work, suggesting if it were to be a substantial part of their working practice, rather than a pilot, it would become more  automatic.’

Campbell believes that educating public sector workers on the process of user-centred design will help to overcome the perception that existing workloads make the adoption of new technology impossible: involvement in the development process requires investment of time, but develops a better, more efficient product.

From the perspective of a technology developer, having team members with public sector experience was important. FutureGov relied heavily on this expertise to find an authority with which to begin a pilot, when they received an initial grant with the provison that they were to spend it within a matter of months.

‘But if you were outside of the kind of network we have, I just don’t know where you would start’.

For this reason, FutureGov are also involved in setting up a platform called Simpl, described as ‘an ideas crowd-sourcing platform’ – which ‘surfaces good ideas’ – solutions to problems that practitioners and public alike can highlight, and crucially ‘in one place’ that councils can look at. Employing people with experience of the public sector means they have a shared language and a meeting point when it comes to the design and development process.

It was also important for product development, as it provided an understanding of the context in which products would be used.

‘The thing that drives me most nuts about the “cool kids” who are getting into this space now is that they haven’ t got the patience to go and engage with councils and practitioners, and therefore they build things that are kind of right – because [they] lead with technology rather than design.’

This ‘kind of right’ innovation feeds the resistance in the public sector to technology that is unwieldy or ‘fashionable’ but not, ultimately, useful.

Looking at Patchwork in action, Campbell notes the difficulty in quantifying impact when interventions are designed primarily to prevent future problems occurring.

‘It’s a preventative tool, so working out how many issues you prevented a vulnerable adult having, or how many kids you protected, it’s challenging, but it’s stuff we’re getting very heavy on, demonstrating impact … It’s vital, especially if we’re talking about new creative social technology too, which is more about social capital – more nebulous … I think the evaluation framework for this stuff is still to be born. There’s nothing good out there, yet – probably because most councils aren’t working in that way yet.’

Building a sound business case, based on a proof of concept, pilot evidence and strong evaluation techniques, is crucial.

Once the business case is ready, exposure to key decision-makers in procurement and public sector innovation is also incredibly important.

This is still a problem for FutureGov:

‘I see people like Jeremy Hunt paying £9.2 million for a child protection system for NHS and A&E hospitals, to join them up (but not to councils) and I know that with a third of that we could offer Patchwork to the whole country: A&E, council, social care team, whatever you wanted.

So when I see that, that’s when I realise you have to connect to the top level … the people who cost out those ridiculous £9.2 million budgets. There isn’t an opportunity for new entrants at that scale.’

New Patchwork Feature: Circles

We have been working on a new feature called Circles for a while now and are happy to announce that it is now live.  At the moment, Circles is very much a working title, as people use the feature we’ll listen to understand what they’re calling it and adopt that language and develop the feature further.

What is the Circles feature?

Circles is a way for you to add people to your client’s personal network. These can be family members, people living at the same address, or anyone who has an important or significant relationship with that client. By adding them to the Circle you can share with other Agents your knowledge of these relationships and their potential impact on your client’s life. In turn everyone in that Client’s team can then see which agents are working with members of that network.

Circles

How do Circles work?

On your client’s team page, there is a new tab called “Circle”.  If no one has added anyone to the Circle the page won’t have any content. It is important for all agents to share their knowledge of the Client’s network by Adding to the Circle. You can do this by clicking “Add to Circle”.

You can add any of your Clients to the Circle by selecting the checkboxes and then clicking the green “Add to circle” button. These people will then be added to this client’s circle and vice versa. You can only add your own clients. As more members of the team add to the circle you will start to build a bigger picture of your client’s greater network and the agents working with those people.

If an agent adds someone to the circle who isn’t your client, instead of a “View Team” button under their name, there will be a “Join Team” button. To view this person and the agents working with them you will have to join their team.

We hope this becomes a valuable new feature for you. This is an initial release and we know there is still work to do on it so, as always, please share any input, feedback or issues you have with it. We have a short questionnaire here https://patchwork.typeform.com/to/NE7OC7 it would be great to hear your thoughts.