Quality improvement for primary care workshops launch

The West of England Academy are hosting a new series of five free-to-attend interactive online workshops each Friday from 16 April.

Attendees will gain a basic understanding and practical knowledge of applying Quality Improvement (QI) techniques to real-world challenges in primary care.

Modelled on our hugely successful QI Summer and Winter Series, this five-week course, held over 90-minutes each Friday from 12noon can be joined as single sessions or a series.

The workshops have been developed, and will be delivered by, the West of England Academy team alongside guest speakers. Topics include stakeholder mapping, process mapping, data management and the basics for change management.

Attendees can be in any role and/or grade within their organisation, for example from clinical, administration or facilities.

Our academy works hard to welcome attendees from a broad range of backgrounds creating a safe and open environment for learning and sharing ideas.

Find out more about QI for primary care and book here. 

The West of England Academy offers a wide range of free resources to healthcare professionals and innovators across the region. To find out more, visit our Academy pages or email academy@weahsn.net.

Introducing the quality improvement (QI) winter series

The West of England Academy are hosting a series of five online workshops each Wednesday from 27 January on quality improvement (QI). Free to attend, and for any innovator or employee within healthcare, each one-hour session is standalone so you can choose individual workshops or sign up for the series.

Each workshop will be interactive, so you can apply learning in real-world scenarios. The workshops will be beneficial regardless if you are working on a specific QI project or not. If you encounter challenges in your role (or outside work), and want to consider how these can be tackled through QI, these sessions will help.

Attendees can be in any role or level within their organisation or business; for example clinical, product development, administration or facilities.

Our academy works hard to welcome attendees from a broad range of backgrounds creating a safe and open environment for learning and sharing ideas.

The West of England Academy offers a wide range of free resources to healthcare professionals and innovators across the region. To find out more, visit our Academy pages or email academy@weahsn.net.

New adoption and spread guide launched

It is estimated that across the UK, a third of healthcare improvement projects never spread beyond their particular unit, a further third are embedded across their organisation but never spread further than that, and only the final third are spread across their own and other similar organisations. Through the West of England Academy supported by our new guide, we aim to support our member organisations and innovators increase the adoption and spread of successful innovations and improvements in the health and social care sector.

quote from guide

Successfully spreading improvements and ensuring changes are sustained requires overcoming numerous challenges, such as:

  • Creating an awareness of why the change is needed
  • Ensuring those involved have a desire to support and participate in the change
  • Knowledge of how to bring about change
  • The skills and resources to bring about the change
  • Ensuring processes to sustain the change

Our new guide (which you can download here) sets out suggestions to be considered for the successful adoption and spread of innovation and improvement projects. Our Academy will also be hosting a free series of workshops focusing on adoption and spread in spring 2021.

The West of England Academy provides a range of free resources to help you gain knowledge and develop essential skills for innovative thinking and working. We promote the use of quality improvement methodologies to support delivery of better patient care. We also offer a range of resources focused on evidence and evaluation.

If you would like further guidance on this subject, please contact us through Innovation@weahsn.net.

Our Academy also hosts free workshops and learning events. Whether you are looking to learn more about: inventing, innovating, improving or realising impact, and whatever your background or healthcare experience, we hope we’ll have something suitable for you. If you have any suggestions for potential events, or know of any training that we can share then please contact Academy@weahsn.net and let us know.

What’s your best-fit coaching style?

Our quality improvement project support officer, Kate Phillips reflects on her learning from the West of England Academy Improvement Coach Programme…

I recently took part in a great two-day improvement coaching event hosted by the West of England AHSN, funded by The Health Foundation. The event was attended by 26 of the West of England Qs, a group of people who I am really enjoying getting to know as we share a passion for driving quality improvement (QI) in healthcare. Sue Mellor and Dee Wilkinson, our fabulous facilitators, guided us through three coaching approaches with an emphasis on finding our ‘best fit’ coaching style. This encouragement for honest reflection ensured I left with a bounty of personalised counselling tools.

We started the course by working out our Honey and Mumford personality type which led to conversations around team dynamics and how to make the most of individual talents. I felt a sense of belonging and of ‘finding my people’ as the room was buzzing with personality type ‘private’ jokes. A particularly comical moment was when three ‘activists’ were first up to grab the board pen, while the ‘theorists’ were still discussing the merits of the process!

I initially joined the ‘pragmatists’ as I thrive on finding evidence-based logical solutions. However, following an insightful conversation with a colleague, I scooted myself closer to the ‘reflectors’. She had noticed how I often approach tasks with a reflector mindset, which I reckon comes from a desire to learn best practice from more experienced colleagues (experienced in QI and identifying personality types!).

Having very recently made a jaunty sidestep away from a career in teaching, I am still finding my QI feet… Interestingly I think personality types are fluid and can change depending on the situation we find ourselves in.

For example, if I was to stroll back into a classroom and teach a class about displacement reactions (fire!) you would see a pragmatic Kate, but put me in the office answering the phone you would firstly see me very flustered as I juggle the telephone voice, demands of the caller and transferring the call. However after my heart rate has returned to baseline, I will reflect on the success of the phone call and how I can make it less of an ordeal next time (more fire?).

As I’m sure a lot of QI projects involve taking people out of their comfort zones, I think it is important to recognise that personality types may take a detour away from ‘the norm’ during the changing situation. I can imagine this having quite a big impact on team dynamics.

As the two-day programme unfolded, Sue and Dee skilfully balanced theory-based learning with opportunities to ‘play’ with different coaching approaches, always with the focus on our own QI projects. We worked in triads to explore the benefits of three different coaching approaches:

GROW – Goal, Reality, Options, Will

CLEAR – Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Actions, Review

OSCAR – Outcome, Situation, Choices, Actions, Review.

As both coach and coachee, the chance to experiment with these approaches and to work with different Qs was an invaluable opportunity for me.

As a coach I grasped the power of suspending judgement, in allowing silence to fall in a conversation and the truth that can be discovered by tapping into the conversation energy level as it peaked and troughed. My favourite approach was GROW, as I found the acronym was easy to remember and the conversation often flowed quite naturally along this path.

In the position of a coachee I learnt to approach the conversation honestly and openly. As a result I was rewarded with multiple light bulb moments as QI ideas and feelings bubbled to the surface, simply drawn out with a few pertinent questions and some very active, active listening. I’d like to thank my triads for these delicious moments of clarity.

I left the programme feeling excited by the power of listening and empowered by the ability to harness a 15 minute time slot. My enthusiasm was echoed amongst the other delegates. “It’s powerful stuff for fostering change,” said one.

I’d love to hear your own thoughts and tips about using coaching to promote and accelerate QI projects. You’ll find me on twitter at @IamKateP or @weahsn.

Hot off the press! Our guide to Quality Improvement

Our new Guide to Quality Improvement (QI) is a handy, A5 sized handbook, which explains what QI science is all about and how it can be used to deliver safer and better patient care.

It provides a summary of our five-phase Improvement Journey, our methodology for making change happen, and a useful introduction to some basic QI tools.

It is designed to encourage healthcare staff across the West of England to learn more about QI using the resources on our Academy academy web pages, and to get involved with local improvement projects.

Download a PDF version of the handbook here.

Alternatively if you would like a printed copy of the handbook, please email academy@weahsn.net.

Join us on the Improvement Journey

The West of England Academy aims to increase the number of staff across our member organisations who have the knowledge, skill and confidence to plan and deliver sustainable improvements to patient safety and care.

A key element of our strategy is the introduction of Improvement Coaches; volunteers who are already experienced in the use of basic improvement science who will have the opportunity to develop their coaching skills and enhance their own knowledge of improvement so they can direct, guide and coach colleagues in the use of practical tools and techniques – that will help enhance services in order to drive better patient care.

We were overwhelmed with the number of applicants for our first cohort of Improvement coaches from 19 of our 21 healthcare member organisations, but have had to limit the number to 50 coaches who will start on 1 March 2016. Planning is already underway for a second cohort to start in the autumn.

The interest and enthusiasm shown indicates we will achieve our ambition to expand our community of Improvement fellows across the West – experts who will be at the cutting edge of new developments in improvement science.

But all staff can develop their knowledge and skill for making improvements happen. Our Improvement Journey online toolkit will be launched this spring and available to all.

The Improvement Journey is a five-phase method for planning and delivering a quality improvement project. However complex the improvements you wish to make, our ‘journey’ will take you through a logical approach and provide a suite of tools for you to choose from that will help you to successfully implement changes.

At its heart, the Improvement Journey encourages small-scale tests of change to see whether these will lead to improvements, prior to formal implementation.

For more information on either Improvement Coaches or our Improvement Journey, visit the West of England Academy pages or contact david.evans@weahsn.net.