Medical Director of NHS Nightingale Hospital London, Dr Dominique Allwood, lets us behind the scenes and discusses the hospital’s use of the ImproveWell solution and her experience of working with the team
“Everyone should feel empowered to change and improve what they do. I’m very passionate about finding out how we make things better for our patients and staff, every day, so that we’re learning for tomorrow,” Dr Allwood begins. But how do you implement that? “We’d seen other organisations who have an amazing learning and improvement culture – places like East London NHS Foundation Trust – which had been using ImproveWell. So, the first time we opened we chose ImproveWell and then, having worked with the team – who are so responsive to what we need – we were really keen that we use it again when we reopened.
“We could have just put out forms on an ad hoc basis to ask staff ‘what’s working well and what isn’t’,” says Dr Allwood. “We could then have used a system to do the sentiment surveying about how safe they felt on shift, and how we should make changes and improvements”. Instead, by using ImproveWell, the hospital streamlined the whole process and allowed decision makers to access further key learning. “The beauty of it is that staff can use the app to add in their ideas for change, and we can communicate back with them directly. But a rapid cycle of learning only really works if you show people that you’re listening, doing things differently and empowering them to make the change. It’s great that you can communicate through the app to thank them for their feedback and let them know what’s been happening.”
“We’ve found the ImproveWell app amazingly helpful both to gather real-time insights and to tell people what we’re doing. But it also gave us data that we could use in dashboards and decision-making meetings. We have visibility on the number of people reporting in, the number of new users that were engaging, and the types of categories that people were concerned with.
“We’ve been able to use it as a tool to manage a lot of our insights, too. It’s not just a data collection tool – it helps us manage our improvement and change work in a way that’s very complimentary to our overall learning system. It feels very integrated into everything that we’re doing. I can’t imagine having a learning system without a tool like ImproveWell, which captures that insight in a way that aligns so well to what we’re trying to achieve.
“The ability to look across the types of things that people are reporting on and aggregate that has been very useful. There were several ideas related to staff management, for instance. We’ve been able to put some improvements in place around how we organise rostering and how we communicate with people about their shifts.
“Many suggestions aren’t revolutionary. They’re often the kind of things that you would expect to hear people saying as you’re walking around a ward. But ImproveWell has provided a systematic way of capturing these thoughts and also feeding back to staff to tell them how we’re acting. Not only can they tell us what’s wrong, they can also tell us what they’d like to be fixed and how they think it should be fixed. Then we can either act on it or research further. Together, we’ve been able to make a demonstrable difference.
“We’ve had over 200 change ideas through the app so far – they’ve ranged from quick fixes through to improvement projects around multidisciplinary working for example, all the way through to some more significant changes around policies or practice. There have been lots of great examples of how ImproveWell has highlighted what needs changing.
A powerful partnership
“Working with the team has been an absolute joy, delight and pleasure. Sometimes when you work with an external team, they don’t always necessarily understand how you want to work. But it’s been like working with old friends. They’re reliable, safe, trusted colleagues – it’s a relationship that works really well – nothing was too much trouble.
“ImproveWell has been embedded into our learning system with complete ease. We’ve been drawing on staff and patient insights – it’s great to have that all in one portal. It’s given us the ability to analyse the data and put it into the right people’s hands to make changes and improvements – whatever level that’s at. It’s provided a really systematic, rigorous and fast way in which to understand the insights of our users and how we then put change into practice.”
In a nutshell
“It’s not just an app – it’s more than that. Working with the team at ImproveWell has felt really synergistic – all parts integrate really well. We really do think of ImproveWell as partners.”
Learn more about the approach to learning and improvement at the NHS Nightingale Hospital London.