NHS Informatics Merseyside

Providing health and care professionals with online learning using Microsoft 365

The Client

NHS Informatics Merseyside provides digital services and IT support to health and care organisations in the North West of England.

The digital service provider’s vision is to help people remain well and live longer by digitally transforming the way health and care is delivered, experienced and managed.  

Their goal is to digitally enable health and care professionals to deliver the very best care possible by working collaboratively with them to design and develop empowering digital solutions that improve the way they work and deliver care for the benefit of their patients.

To help drive digital adoption, promoting the benefits of digital and enhancing the digital skills of the health and care workforce is key. To support this, NHS Informatics Merseyside required an online learning solution to be developed that could enable health and care professionals to learn at a time and location convenient for them.

To achieve this goal, and build on their existing investment in Microsoft 365, NHS Informatics Merseyside worked with LMS365 and Extranet User Manager (EUM) to create an online Learning Management System (LMS) that could be used for the provision of clinical systems training as well as learning on the apps available as part of Microsoft 365.

"Together with LMS365 and Extranet User Manager (EUM), we have developed an online Learning Management System (LMS) utilising Microsoft 365 that can be easily accessed across the region and automatically configured according to an individual’s training requirements. This was a highly complex piece of work, and we are delighted to be in a position where we are now able to provide health and care professionals with quick and convenient access to online learning to help harness the benefits of Microsoft 365."

The Challenge

NHS Informatics Merseyside was successful in a bid to deliver a Microsoft 365 Optimisation Programme across their region. This programme aims to enhance the Microsoft 365 skills of the health and care professionals across the region by providing access to online learning and ensuring the benefits of Microsoft 365 are being fully harnessed to improve collaboration, information sharing, and efficiency.

Like many organisations that have invested in Microsoft 365, NHS Informatics Merseyside saw an opportunity to gain extended value from its investment through two components: a cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) platform built into Microsoft 365 supported by a user portal that integrated with the LMS and Microsoft 365.

In addition to the Microsoft 365 online learning that would be available across the region, the LMS also needed to accommodate other IT and clinical system training being delivered by NHS Informatics Merseyside’s Training Service for specific organisations.

To gain full value from the digital solution, NHS Informatics Merseyside required users to be able to self-register to gain access to the LMS, provided guest accounts were created in the Microsoft 365 tenant. There was also a requirement to be able to apply logic so that the learning experience could be personalised where required, with users added to groups according to their role and enrolled on specific courses.

The Solution

LMS365 and Extranet User Manager (EUM) worked together to develop an online Learning Management System (LMS) using SharePoint Online, which met the bespoke requirements of NHS Informatics Merseyside.

As part of the development, a simple self-registration process was created to support the onboarding of users, hiding the underlying complexities of creating guest accounts, and associating them to the relevant groups.

EUM worked collaboratively with NHS Informatics Merseyside to define the requirements and information needed for the self-registration form, ensuring the process was as user-friendly as possible. The resulting solution used the email domain of the registered user to automatically pre-fill their organisation details.

In certain cases, there were email domains with multiple organisations associated with a specific domain. Using EUM’s dynamic self-registration solution, the system was updated based on the user’s input, allowing the user to put in the minimum information required to create the account. Behind the scenes, the mapping of email domains to organisations is then managed by a SharePoint List, making it very easy for NHS Informatics Merseyside to update and adjust as requirements evolve.

Once a user registers, many complex back-end operations take place seamlessly, including

  • Creation of the Guest Account in Azure AD
  • Writing of profile information to the User Attributes in Azure AD
  • Adding the applicable EUM Groups to the user based on their email domain
  • EUM calls the LMS 365 API to enroll the user in the appropriate course catalogue.

From a user perspective, clear communication on next steps is provided throughout the account registration process.

Once registered, the user is redirected to Microsoft to authenticate login using their own Microsoft user account. This means NHS Informatics Merseyside is not responsible for credential management as users are gaining access to the LMS using their organisation’s Microsoft 365 user account – the same password that they would use to unlock their PC.

Once successfully signed in, users are brought directly into the LMS, which is configured based on the permissions assigned to them as part of their registration.

From a user perspective, the entire experience, from account registration to gaining access to the courses contained within the LMS, is quick and trouble free, with Microsoft authentication removing the need to set up and manage an additional account. This is the value of using User Manager and Azure AD B2B collaboration.

The Results

Working with LMS 365 and Extranet User Manager (EUM) enabled NHS Informatics Merseyside to deliver a tailored online Learning Management System (LMS) solution that could be accessed easily by health and care professionals across the region to help enhance their digital skills, whilst also delivering a return on the investment made in Microsoft 365.

The solution has been well received by users, with the user base continuing to grow as new learning resources and content continue to be added and promoted.

From an administration perspective, the solution has also helped deliver operational efficiency – through a self-registration process and by empowering NHS Informatics Merseyside’s Training Service to be able to fully manage the resources held within the site without the need for development support.