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Transform NHS IT Service Management with Alemba

Alemba • 13 Dec 2023


With over 1.5 million employees, the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom is the second largest, and possibly the most complex, organisation globally, serving more than 67 million residents.

Founded in 1948 on the principles of universal healthcare, the NHS provides free and comprehensive medical services to the UK's diverse population. With a vast network of hospitals, clinics, and healthcare professionals, the NHS serves as the backbone of the country's healthcare infrastructure. This extensive system caters to a wide range of healthcare needs, from primary care to specialised treatments, making it a cornerstone of public health in the UK.

With ever-increasing demand, the pressure on NHS Trusts to enhance patient care and improve operational efficiency has never been higher. 

Modern healthcare systems are reliant on technology to deliver quality patient care, and the efficient management of IT services is critical in healthcare operations. 

The UK government in partnership with the IT industry, developed the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) to define best practice in IT service delivery.

Alemba adopts the ITIL standard as its guiding philosophy to help our NHS customers optimise IT services in their organisation, enhancing the quality, efficiency, and security of patient care.

This article explores the transformational potential of IT Service Management (ITSM) in the context of NHS Trusts and the broader NHS healthcare ecosystem, demonstrating how a flexible, scalable ITSM solution can revolutionise the way healthcare services are delivered. 

By delving into the challenges faced by the NHS, and tips for choosing the right ITSM solution for healthcare providers, this article serves as a comprehensive guide for healthcare decision-makers, IT professionals, and anyone interested in the intersection of technology and healthcare.

Understanding the Challenges Faced by NHS Trusts

NHS Trusts operate in one of the most demanding environments where efficiency and cost control are of utmost importance. They face a multitude of challenges, including managing patient data, ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations, and addressing the increasing demand for healthcare services.

Some of the unique challenges faced by NHS Trusts include:

Increasing Demand for Healthcare Services

The NHS faces a growing and ageing population with an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and complex healthcare needs. Meeting the demand for healthcare services while maintaining quality care is a significant challenge.

Funding and Budgetary Constraints

Funding and budgetary constraints is one of the most prominent challenges faced by the NHS. The demand for healthcare services consistently exceeds the financial resources allocated. Often, NHS Trusts operate with limited personnel and resources, as well as outdated technology, resulting in operational inefficiencies and extended wait times for patients.

Workforce Shortages

A shortage of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and support staff, poses a critical challenge. Staff shortages can lead to overwork, burnout, and compromised patient care.

Infrastructure and Technology Gaps

Some NHS facilities operate with outdated infrastructure and technology, hindering the efficient delivery of care. Digital transformation efforts are underway, but challenges in implementing new technology systems persist.

Patient Data Privacy and Security

Protecting patient data is of paramount importance, and NHS Trusts must continually invest in data security measures. The evolving threat landscape and increasing reliance on digital systems require vigilant cybersecurity efforts.

Regulatory and Compliance Concerns

The healthcare sector is highly regulated, and the NHS is no exception. NHS Trusts must adhere to stringent data privacy laws and healthcare standards. Keeping up with evolving regulations such as GDPR, data security, and other healthcare compliance requirements is a significant challenge.

Ensuring that the IT systems comply with these regulations is essential to avoid legal consequences and maintain patient trust.

Data Management and Integration

NHS Trusts handle a vast amount of patient data, which needs to be securely stored and shared across various departments. Data fragmentation across different healthcare systems and departments can make it difficult to obtain a complete patient record and impede decision-making.

Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for effective emergency response and preparedness plans. NHS Trusts must be agile in their response to emergencies, with the ability to quickly adapt their IT systems and healthcare delivery models.

Understanding these unique challenges faced by NHS Trusts is crucial in the context of implementing ITSM solutions. A tailored ITSM system can help address these challenges, improving efficiency, patient care, and overall operations in the NHS while ensuring compliance and data security.

Choosing the Right ITSM Tool for NHS Trusts

A recent research article by Xcession, based on a June 2023 Freedom of Information Data request, revealed that there are over 20 different ITSM solutions in use across the 140 participating Trusts. 

Xcession attempts to trace the commonalities between the Trusts’ choice of ITSM software across factors such as geography, size of trust, performance and cost. They conclude that the ITSM systems in place across surveyed trusts are varied, with no discernible singular denominator. 

Does this lack of commonality indicate that one ITSM solution is just as good as the other, then?

Absolutely not. 

Rather, this points to a critical factor in selecting the best ITSM tool for NHS Trusts: configuration and scalability.

The diverse and complex nature of healthcare services means that an ITSM tool must be highly adaptable and configurable to address the unique needs of each NHS Trust. 

Not all ITSM tools are created equal. While many ITSM tools are configurable to some extent, pitfalls to avoid include expensive development costs, limited configuration of workflows, and sub-par integration capabilities.

“…[I]t’s certainly worth spending the respective amount of time and effort in fully understanding and appreciating the capabilities available, and making your ITSM fit for purpose, maximising the capabilities to the nth degree to realise and surface the value it provides, in turn helping drive and deliver the outcomes you want and need to be successful.” - “ITSM Solutions in use - NHS Trusts”, Xcession

Consider the following critical success factors involved in choosing the right ITSM tool for you: 

Scalability to Accommodate Growth

As healthcare demands evolve, NHS Trusts must have the flexibility to scale their ITSM solutions accordingly. Scalability is vital in accommodating increased patient loads, expanding service offerings, and adapting to changing healthcare regulations. The chosen ITSM tool should be capable of growing with the Trust over time.

Diverse Healthcare Ecosystems

NHS Trusts vary significantly in size, patient demographics, and specialties. From small community hospitals to large teaching hospitals, each Trust has distinct operational requirements. When selecting an ITSM tool, it's imperative to consider the specific healthcare ecosystem the Trust operates within. A one-size-fits-all solution might not accommodate the intricacies of different healthcare settings.

Configuration for Specialised Services

NHS Trusts often offer specialised services and treatment areas, such as cancer centres, mental health units, and paediatric care. These specialised units require tailored ITSM solutions to address their unique workflows, data handling, and regulatory requirements. 

An effective ITSM tool must support easily achievable configuration, enabling Trusts to adapt the system to their specific services without the need to engage expensive development resources or external product experts.

Integration with Existing Infrastructure

Any ITSM tool should seamlessly integrate with these existing systems to avoid disruption and ensure the continuity of patient care. A lack of integration can lead to data silos and inefficiencies, making the delivery of healthcare services more challenging.

User-Friendly Interface

The healthcare workforce is diverse, and not all users have the same level of technical expertise. An intuitive and user-friendly interface is essential to ensure that all staff members can use the ITSM tool effectively. Training requirements should be minimised to expedite adoption and ensure the smooth operation of the system.

Compliance and Data Security

Healthcare regulations, including data protection and privacy laws, are stringent. The chosen ITSM tool must support compliance with these regulations and offer robust data security features. Trusts should be confident that their patient data is protected and that the ITSM tool meets the highest standards of data security and privacy.

Support and Vendor Partnership

Selecting an ITSM tool is a combination of software and services, so an ongoing partnership with your chosen vendor is vital. Considerable weighting should be given to vendors who provide excellent customer support and continuous product improvement. Trusts should assess the vendor's commitment to assisting in overcoming challenges and optimising the ITSM system over time.

Extensive experience in providing ITSM solutions to NHS Trusts is invaluable and should form an important part of your vendor evaluation process. 

Cost Considerations

Budget constraints are a reality in healthcare. The cost of implementing and maintaining an ITSM solution is a significant factor to consider. The chosen tool should provide a cost-effective solution that offers value for the investment, aligning with the Trust's financial goals and resource availability.

How Alemba Service Manager supports NHS Trusts

Alemba Service Manager (ASM) is trusted by a large number of NHS Trusts to optimise their ITSM processes, including: St Bartholomew’s (Bart’s Health) NHS Trust, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, United Lincolnshire NHS Trust, and Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

Notably, according to Xcession’s research, approximately 20% of the top-performing NHS Trusts rely on ASM to provide critical services.


Alemba Service Manager is an ideal solution for IT Service Management in an NHS Trust, offering operational efficiency and helping to enhance patient care. Benefits include:

  • Streamlined Processes and Workflow Automation: Alemba Service Manager enables the automation of routine tasks and processes. This can reduce manual workload, minimise errors, and accelerate response times, allowing staff to focus on more critical, patient-centric activities.
  • Automation of Routine Tasks: Alemba Service Manager automates mundane, repetitive tasks that traditionally require manual input. For example, administrative tasks like routine maintenance updates, staff on-boarding, staff exit processes, and inventory management can be automated. This automation not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of human error.
  • Custom Workflow Creation: The platform allows for zero-code workflow creation tailored to the specific needs of different departments within the Trust. These workflows can automate the steps involved in various processes, from the design of IT services to their retirement, ensuring that each step is efficiently managed and nothing is overlooked.
  • Integration with Existing Systems: Alemba Service Manager integrates with existing healthcare IT systems, such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) and the NHS Azure Active Directory system. This ensures seamless data flow and process automation across different systems, enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Enhanced Communication and Collaboration: Alemba Service Manager facilitates better communication and collaboration among different departments. This integration can lead to more coordinated care, quicker decision-making, and improved patient outcomes. Alemba exploits your existing Microsoft Teams platform, adding auditable history and communications management and searching.

ASM in Microsoft Teams

  • Data Management and Reporting: With its robust data management capabilities, Alemba Service Manager allows for the efficient handling of large volumes of patient data. Trusts can gain valuable insights through advanced reporting and analytics, aiding in strategic planning and resource allocation.
  • Proactive Problem Management: Alemba Service Manager's AI Ops module helps automate the identification of root causes based on the patterns recurring in incident records. This leads to reduced downtime and more reliable services.
  • Compliance and Governance: The platform helps in maintaining compliance with healthcare regulations and standards. It provides a structured approach to manage audits, risk assessments, and policy adherence, which is crucial in the healthcare sector.
  • Enhanced Patient Experience: By streamlining operations, NHS Trusts can offer quicker and more efficient services to patients. Alemba Service Manager's customer service management tools can also improve patient engagement and satisfaction.
  • Cost Efficiency: Over time, the automation and efficiency gains provided by Alemba Service Manager, combined with its lower than market average total cost of ownership, leads to significant cost savings. These savings can be redirected towards patient care and other critical areas.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: As NHS Trusts evolve, Alemba Service Manager's GUI-driven field builder, screen designer, rule builder and workflow engine make it easy and cost-effective to adapt to changing needs and demands. This ensures that Alemba Service Manager remains a powerful tool in the face of new challenges and opportunities. Dedicated customer tenancies ensure scalability with no competition for resources from other users.


The selection of the right ITSM tool is pivotal for NHS Trusts aiming to enhance patient care and streamline operations. Configuration and scalability are not just optional features; they are fundamental requirements in addressing the unique challenges faced by each Trust. 

By choosing an ITSM tool, such as Alemba Service Manager, that can be tailored to meet specific needs and can grow and adapt with the Trust, NHS Trusts can pave the way for healthcare excellence, ensuring efficient, secure, and patient-centered services.

Talk to Alemba about how we can help you improve your service delivery or find out more about our technology by requesting a call with one of our NHS experts.

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