Dorothy House Hospice Care

Assessing ageing IT infrastructure and developing a CRM strategy to align technology with Dorothy House's long term planning, care requirements and fundraising goals.

Sector: Charity & Third Party

Completion Date:   February 2018

Services: Strategy, Digital Transformation, CRM Consultancy, Procurement


Dorothy House Hospice Care, based in Bradford-on-Avon and supporting the South West area, offers specialist palliative care to patients, and support for their families and carers – a completely free service.

Offering services such as community teams, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and bereavement support, Dorothy House has a large cross section between the medical and allied health care professionals.

The organisation has an annual turnover of £13m and in keeping with the seven-year-plan of the organisation, the aim is to nearly double this to £22m. In doing so, Dorothy House can increase the number of patients and families it already supports, whether it be at home, in the hospice or at one of its outreach centres throughout the region.

While the team at Dorothy House is doing an excellent job, the organisation believes that even more can be done for those it supports, increasing quality of life and keeping people out of the NHS.


The UK has the fastest-growing population of all the European states, which by default means there are more people within our communities with life-limiting illnesses who need essential support. This is where Dorothy House comes into its own. But as the organisation has continued to expand, so too has the need for greater internal systems and processes to increase communications and improve efficiencies.

Claire Newton, Head of Information Management at Dorothy House, said:

“Dorothy House has a lot of historical systems and processes which have grown and developed as the hospice has. 
“While these had served us relatively well to date, there were gaps that if filled could make a huge difference to the way in which we operate and communicate across the organisation.
“For example, while the one team could have one conversation with the homes they are working in, another team could be doing likewise but neither team is aware of the communications that are taking place.
“This is commonplace among many organisations and we recognised that a cohesive approach was essential to ensuring we are to have full scope of our relationship with a person.”

David Badger, Director of Income Generation & Communities, echoed this. He said:

“We have a lot of ‘data lakes’ - separate pools of information. On top of that, if you were to buy something off our site, that would be manually printed off and managed by a team. Because of this, our management information is very retrospective. I’m having to make big commercial decisions on data that’s two months old. It should be instant.”


Dorothy House currently looks after around 2,000 patients and families per year, with a view to increasing that to over 3,000 in the near future. With their vision of “making death part of life”, the challenge is to increase the visibility of the charity, join up processes, and ultimately, bolster their fundraising efforts.

To achieve this, what Dorothy House needed was a bird’s eye view of their supporters, clients and patients.



Initially, Dorothy House knew that something needed to be done. For the first steps, the charity brought in ojo solutions to assess their clinical environment, contact centre, fundraising and retail areas for potential efficiency gains.

Claire Newton confirmed that:

“Patients get referred to us for advice and support, but don’t come on the books so we don’t have any formal record of that interaction. It’s a part of our “Light touch” services, and it becomes a challenge to know where our resources are going.
“Nathan [from ojo solutions] undertook a detailed assessment of our existing processes. This enabled him to recommend an integration of our overall retail operation with a new CRM system. With our retail operation being one of our major sources of income, the intelligence gathered would be invaluable.
“For instance, it would give us a better understanding of our customers, increase the effectiveness of our messaging to them, and enable us to make better informed decisions on other ways to improve our services across the hospice.”

Currently, patients and caregivers have many touchpoints with Dorothy House over time. Introducing these new systems would expand our capacity to manage each of these interactions quickly and efficiently.

Nathan Baranowski, Director at ojo solutions, explained:

“We worked across the whole organisation from a relationship management point of view to understand their key stakeholders’ perspective, to identify how their income generation and services could be reworked to be more efficient. We, essentially, identified a way to bring this all together under one solution.”

With their current ambitious seven-year-plan Dorothy House undoubtedly need the right data to do it – all that was needed was an effective strategy to link the various elements together. A CRM system, starting with their retail and fundraising operation, became the clear strategy for delivering that change.

In the short term, this is intended to bolster income generation efforts. In the long term, it will focus on linking that same joined-up thinking to care provision. Ultimately, the more funds that Dorothy House can raise, the greater the quality of care they can provide – pushing the boundaries of what they think is possible.


Claire Newton, to date, is thrilled with the result:

“There’s no question that we have a better understanding of what we need. ojo solutions has rooted what we need in reality.
For stage two of our digital transformation, we will be reprioritising where we need to roll out the systems. We had an idea initially that the CRM system should be brought in for use in a different area. Nathan looked at it, took a more holistic view, and saw that the demands we faced were far different to what we thought.
David Badger, Director of Income Generation and Communications, agreed, stating that: “I understand CRM and the power of what these software packages can do… but the technical side isn’t something I’ve understood.
Nathan came in with a short list of things to look at - he’s gone well above the brief. He is calm and logical in presenting things. He doesn’t patronise, but takes you through the process. Nathan joins all of the dots that people may not have identified otherwise.
Ultimately, Newton advised, “We have a road to walk down where one previously wasn’t visible. We had an idea about what we wanted - Nathan came in and helped us quantify that and provide a clear perspective of what we need to enable us to achieve our goals.”

A unique approach for care provision:

As a society, we are unprepared for death. We’re brought into this world very well, and the process is clear from a medical standpoint. Find a hospital, use a midwife, buy the child a car seat, buy them new clothes… there’s nothing like that for end-of-life.

David Badger explained:

"People lie in our hospice who haven’t made a will or got their affairs in order. Ultimately, our aim is to get people to think about how they want it to happen.
We also help the people who are left behind. In long-term relationships people often have firm roles. Some deal with the finances, some do the cooking, some do the driving… we provide enablement courses for people who can’t cook, for people who don’t know about the banking or bills. We try to help people but ideally people need to have these conversations before we become part of it.
People just don’t talk about death in the UK. It’s a cultural thing - they don’t want to think about it. Other societies are very good at it – Mexico, for example, has a very good attitude towards death. The people around you can make the process better.
At Dorothy House, we’re more than just a hospice. It’s not just a place that is sad and where people come and die – it’s full of energy and love. Our gardens are amazing and look over the Limpley Stoke valley.
I met a lady here last year after I’d had a tough meeting. She was very ill and was sat in the garden in a wheelchair. I spoke with her for about an hour. She said to me… “there’s only two things I’ve wanted to do in my life – stay at a five-star hotel and go to Dordogne for the restaurants. Now I’ve done both of those things.” She thought that highly of our facilities… it was touching to know we’d helped her, in some small way, to do what she most wanted to. 
Ultimately, we’re about life enablement. We help people take back control of their lives to do what they want with it. As a culture, we expect people to stay in hospital for their end-of-life. There’s a better way. Once, we brought a horse into the hospice two days before a lady died and her last wish was to see her horse again.
“We make a real difference, and that’s what ojo is helping to support.”