Meeting room booking
Coventry NHS Trust streamlines consulting & meeting room bookings
Coventry NHS Trust, part of the Arden Cluster, is responsible for providing access to healthcare services for the 300,000 residents in Coventry. The Trust has a range of existing premises across Coventry and a new hospital building that opened early 2012.
In order to reduce costs and minimise environmental impact, the Trust set out on a three-pronged initiative to rationalise estates and ensure that all their buildings are used as efficiently as possible in serving patients and staff:
- Get better visibility of how well meeting rooms – including consultation and therapy rooms – are being used and by whom. This will improve cost allocation and help identify any under-utilised buildings that may be eligible for being sold off.
- Improve on the current room booking processes and eliminate ‘no shows’ to control costs and get maximum room utilisation.
- In the future, provide a flexible workspace for staff not requiring a full-time desk, again, with the aim of reducing real-estate costs.
Working in collaboration with Essential Computing and the PCT’s IT Collaborative (ITC), the PCT now has a resource management solution that layers on top of its Microsoft Exchange and Outlook email and calendaring system. Integration with existing core systems and working practices is proving to be a key factor in streamlining the resource-booking process and getting a system that the entire PCT will benefit from.
To address key aspects of the PCT’s resource management needs, the ITC and Essential delivered functionality that built on their investment in Microsoft Exchange.
Advanced Room Selection & Easy Set Up
Many organisations use native Exchange room mailboxes to enable meeting rooms to be booked at the same time as inviting individuals to a meeting.
According to Jim Fussell, workspace booking expert at Essential, “Using room and workspace mailboxes is a great strategy, however configuring them so they work as intended with the Outlook Room Finder involves using the Exchange admin centre and PowerShell. In other words, it’s not a process that the facilities team can own and manage going forwards.
Our meeting room booking solution for Microsoft 365, Resource Central, uses standard Exchange mailboxes but shifts responsibility for configuration into the domain of the FM team.”
The Resource Central admin console lets facilities and office managers configure and amend room attributes, add photos, specify cleaning buffering times, etc. They can also associate forms and workflows with and room bookings that enable additional services to be requested. This includes catering choices and any allergens, cost codes, visitor details, accessibility needs, parking requests, and so on.
Outlook users, meanwhile, have a powerful tool for selecting their ideal meeting room using a wide range of attributes and even internal photos of the rooms.
Streamlined Booking & Data Capture
Having found the ideal room, the process of making a booking has been reduced to just a few clicks.
Rooms are still booked using Outlook calendar, but Resource Central which integrates seamlessly with Outlook, includes forms that enable PCT staff to record who the booking is for (e.g. a Doctor or Consultant), enter a cost code to be associated with the resource and any other information, all in one place.
According to Kirstie Webb, projects administrator in the Estates department, “The forms make it possible for us to ensure services and time are billed for. We weren’t able to do this in the past because there was no way of accurately capturing this information.”
The information is also proving useful for the PCT’s in-house service provider arm to capture service line reporting and identify heavy users. It will also enable the PCT to create cleaning schedules for clinical rooms.
The PCT facilities team is also seeing tangible savings in time spent booking resources. Concluded Kirstie, “Our facilities team gets calls all day every day to book rooms. Prior to implementing Resource Central making a room booking was a multi-layered process. Now it’s just a lot easier for people to create bookings and there is a lot less process involved.”
Room Touch Screens
The PCT was finding that, on occasion, meeting rooms would be booked in advance but not actually used on the day. Starting with its new flagship hospital building in Coventry, the Cluster installed ResourceXpress touch screens outside all primary meeting rooms.
Again, fully integrated with Exchange, the screens display meetings in progress and availability for the rest of the day, with the option to allow authorised staff to book rooms directly via the screen. The screens also prompt staff to check in and out of their room.
This is enabling the PCT to get an accurate report of how many hours in the day rooms are being used. And, if the rooms are not checked into by a given time, or if the meeting ends early, the room is automatically freed up for other staff members to use, ensuring facilities deliver optimum value for money. Staff, meanwhile, no longer have the frustration of being unable to book a room in advance, but seeing empty rooms ‘on the day’.
See our room & desk booking solution in action!
Discover how we can help you manage your meeting rooms & desk bookings in order to utilise your estates more effectively.