Buurtzorg: Empowering nurses to provide effective care with G Suite
With G Suite, Buurtzorg found a productivity platform that complements its decentralized structure, integrates with its existing Buurtzorgweb system and improves productivity while keeping costs low.
Google Cloud Results
Reduced email and productivity solution costs 23%
• Reduces costs by 23% compared with its previous email and productivity solution
• Shares documents easily and safely with Google Team Drive, leading to better collaboration
• Seamlessly integrates with the existing Buurtzorgweb platform to minimize errors and improve productivity
Working in small teams of empowered, highly qualified professionals, Buurtzorg provides nurse-led community care across the Netherlands. Since 2006, the company has grown from a single team of a few nurses to a major healthcare organization employing 15,000 nurses and care workers who deal with over 70,000 clients. Working through 950 localized teams, Buurtzorg’s decentralized structure means that it can keep overhead down and still provide quality care to the community effectively and efficiently.
Its methods have proved so popular that Buurtzorg has exported its model via partnerships and professional relationships to healthcare providers in 42 countries. To stay agile, an organization as decentralized as Buurtzorg requires flexible technology solutions. In 2017, unwilling to bind itself with a long-term contract for its email and productivity platform, Buurtzorg began looking for a new solution. It chose G Suite.
“Buurtzorg is always changing so a long-term contract wasn’t right for us,” says Edwin Oude Middendorp, who helped found Buurtzorg in 2006 and now acts as IT Advisor. “We thought G Suite gave us the flexibility we needed and it had a lot of apps that could help us improve our collaboration and productivity.”
“Buurtzorg is always changing so a long-term contract wasn’t right for us. We thought G Suite gave us the flexibility we needed and it had a lot of apps that could help us improve our collaboration and productivity.” Edwin Oude Middendorp, IT Advisor, Buurtzorg
Buurtzorg’s rapid success lies in its nurses’ abilities to act quickly and effectively without unnecessary bureaucracy. “We work in teams of fewer than 10 and we don’t have managers,” says Gonnie Kronenberg, Director of Operations at Buurtzorg. “We only have 50 people in the main office to support all our nurses and care workers.”
To scale as quickly as it did, Buurtzorg created Buurtzorgweb, a web-based software platform built specifically to support the Buurtzorg way of working. The success of this system led to Edwin Middendorp founding ECARE and Buurtzorg Services to help implement the Buurtzorgweb to other organizations in the Netherlands and internationally.
For email and productivity, Buurtzorg opted for a more traditional package, which afforded them the best products at the time but at the cost of Buurtzorgweb integration. Documents and data had to be manually copied between each platform. By the start of 2017, the company had grown so large that to maintain efficiency, it needed to integrate its Buurtzorgweb and productivity platforms. In addition, its existing license with its productivity suite was proving inflexible and hard to manage for such a rapidly growing organization, so Buurtzorg began looking for different solutions.
“Our people really like Google Docs. We used to email each other different versions of documents—now we can just share a link with someone and they can comment on it, copy it, print it, whatever. It’s a much more secure way of working.” Edwin Oude Middendorp, IT Advisor, Buurtzorg
After seeing demonstrations from Google, the company, with Ecare’s help, started migrating to G Suite in April 2017. Just three months later, Buurtzorg and Ecare had migrated all 15,000 employees to G Suite tools and integrated the platform with the existing, customized Buurtzorgweb. To do that, Buurtzorg gave each team of nurses a Google Team Drive linked to the Buurtzorgweb to work on and store important documents safely and more securely in a single place.
Google single sign-on procedures made permissioning simple without compromising on security. Google Docs and Google Sheets allowed team members to collaborate on key files at the same time with live editing. With Google Drive and Google Docs linked to the Ecare Buurtzorgweb system, workers could make updates and add new files directly to the system, rather than working offline, copying a new file over, and slowing the process down while running the risk of errors. Meanwhile, Gmail provides a fast, efficient search capability to help make sure nothing got lost in long threads.
“Our people really like Google Docs,” says Edwin. “We used to email each other different versions of documents - now we can just share a link with someone and they can comment on it, copy it, print it, whatever. It’s a much more secure way of working.”
“We’re a lean organization and Google has helped us stay that way. We reduced our costs with G Suite but, with features like live editing or simple document sharing in Google Team Drive, it’s also helped make us more productive.” Edwin Oude Middendorp, IT Advisor, Buurtzorg
Thanks to G Suite and Ecare, Buurtzorg has a productivity suite that reflects the way it works, helping it to stay lean and agile even as it continues to grow. Google’s flexible and competitive pricing means that Buurtzorg is not locked into long-term contracts that would limit its future growth. Even better, by switching to Google, Buurtzorg has cut costs. “We calculated that we saved about 23% with G Suite,” says Edwin.
Seamless integration into the existing Buurtzorgweb and improved collaboration from features like live editing, mean that G Suite has helped Buurtzorg become more efficient and effective. Meanwhile, Buurtzorg is looking at other G Suite tools, such as Google Hangouts Meet, to help speed up internal communication and reduce travel costs. Ecare TCS and Buurtzorg are also planning an online client portal, built with Google Forms and Google Hangouts Meet, to provide patients with a convenient way of communicating with their caregivers. G Suite has helped Buurtzorg continue to make innovation a constant, not just an aspiration.
“We’re a lean organization and Google has helped us stay that way,” says Edwin. “We reduced our costs with G Suite but, with features like live editing or simple document sharing in Google Team Drive, it’s also helped make us more productive.”
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