Monday, 25 February 2013

Knowledge Worker 2.0

I continue to fret that the dominant model for understanding healthcare organisations and in defining methods to improve them, comes from an old fashioned industrial process methodology (Lean). I think this continues to hold the stage because it is easy to understand a process and to make charts that count things. It makes us feel better.

But healthcare is not only a service industry it is one based on relationships. The workers are predominantly knowledge workers.  And the role, the use of and the ways in which knowledge workers connect is changing rapidly.

If the whole concept of the knowledge work is an unfamiliar one then have a look at the presentation below. And if you role is one of making improvements in a system then think about how you might go about such changes when you conceive of staff - and patients - as knowledge workers.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

When an app becomes a care plan and a pathway co-ordinator; Asthma AWA

This is a guest blog post from Howard Last. He contacted me after my spate of reviews about healthcare apps. He's provided more information about the asthma web app AWA.  If you'd also like to guest blog then please contact me.

Putting the ‘technology horse’ before the cart was our aim in developing the asthma ‘web app’ (AWA). It is, regrettably, so often the other way round. I work as a GP in an inner city area and was acutely aware of the needs of patients with asthma and the shortcomings in provision of asthma care. I also have an interest in I.T. so it wasn’t long before I wondered how we could use I.T. to address these clinical needs. Making use of Web 2.0 we developed an ‘app’ which tackles the major issues contributing to poor asthma control: inhaler technique, patient education and provision of a care plan.

The provision of a care plan in particular is one area which needs improvement. The AWA control plan is the key component in the application. Patients without a care plan are four times more likely to need an acute admission with poorly controlled asthma. Yet, only one third of asthmatics have a plan. The AWA makes it much easier for a GP or asthma nurse to provide a personalised plan for a patient during a consultation. Subsequently, patients have access to a web-based version of their care plan either through PC or mobile devices. But it goes one step further. The AWA care plan, unlike a paper-based version, adapts dependent on the patients asthma control, prompting an increase in treatment with poor control or allowing a ‘step-down’ with good control. In other words it promotes self-care.

The AWA also provides an alternative healthcare pathway to the traditional model where patient care takes place in GP surgeries or hospitals. The AWA allows the healthcare professional and patients to interact remotely. This is particularly valuable for the ‘difficult to engage’ patient. In asthma care this translates into teenagers. This is a group who are always resistant to invitations to asthma clinics but for who the use of a mobile phone or tablet is second nature.

I think the success of an ‘app’ depends on two simple principles based on need and data handling. First, there has to be a clear clinical need for an ‘app’. Secondly, collecting data is not in itself sufficient.  Doing something useful with the data for the benefit of patients is the crucial step. I believe the AWA passes these tests. Whether it is innovative, I will leave you to decide.

Howard is happy to be contacted if anyone would like more information about the AWA.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Paper: Improving organizational climate for quality and quality of care: does membership in a collaborative help?

I'm always banging on about the need to publish "negative" results - well, I'm pleased to see this paper has received some air time. The authors investigated whether teams that were a member of a collaborative improvement process ended up with changes in their local organisational culture.  The answer is mostly a "no".

"There was no significant effect of collaborative membership on quality-oriented climate and mixed effects on service quality. Doctors' ratings improved significantly more in intervention clinics than in control clinics, staff helpfulness improved less, and timeliness of care declined more. Ratings of doctor-patient communication and willingness to recommend doctor were not significantly different between intervention and comparison clinics."

Improving organizational climate for quality and quality of care: does membership in a collaborative help?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

9 Change Models

It's often joked there are as many models for change as there are consultants selling them! I've curated a list of some of these, focusing mainly on the graphic that explains the model. If I've got an opinion on the model I say so. Each of the models has a link where you can get further information about it.

1. From Six Seconds, focusing on the emotional aspects underpinning any change

2. From I like the "and then you start all over again"

3. From Smartcompany; nice blend of known frameworks

4. The Innovation Change model is nothing new, but a good reminder

5. Peopleandprocess have an interesting model which made me think. I like it.

6. The Driving change model from CMA is simple but I like the language reframing

7. Not so much a model as a comment on models (but I liked the pic)
8. I like the input / output aspect of this model from Metavolution

9. This model is based on Prochaska & DiClemente's. I like this edit.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Paper: Measuring organizational and individual factors thought to influence the success of quality improvement in primary care: a systematic review of instruments

Ah, context. Context matters in healthcare interventions and so many improvement projects and similar interventions ignore context. This paper,  Measuring organizational and individual factors thought to influence the success of quality improvement in primary care: a systematic review of instruments, is important because it attempts to discover measures that influence interventions into account. The results are mixed.

"We identified 186 potentially relevant instruments, 152 of which were analysed to develop the taxonomy. Eighty-four instruments measured constructs relevant to primary care, with content measuring CQI implementation and use (19 instruments), organizational context (51 instruments), and individual factors (21 instruments). Forty-one instruments were included for full review. Development methods were often pragmatic, rather than systematic and theory-based, and evidence supporting measurement properties was limited."

Implementation Science 2012, 7:121

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Outsiders cannot change NHS Culture - only NHS staff can do that

The responsibility for a change in behaviour and subsequent culture in NHS organisations, lies with the staff employed in those organisations, not with any external body.

NHS Organisation: the NHS is not an organisation by most definitions  It is not a singular corporate body..

Definition of "Organisation" from Business Dictionary:

A" social unit of people that is structured and managed to meet a need or to pursue collective goals. All organizations have a management structure that determines relationships between the different activities and the members, and subdivides and assigns roles, responsibilities, and authority to carry out different tasks. Organizations are open systems--they affect and are affected by their environment."

The NHS is a system, and one composed of formal organisations (with differing structures) and informal networks and collaborative structures that include other government bodies (social care) as well as NGO's and social enterprises. The Department of Health is not the NHS. Nor are consultancies, improvement bodies (acting as consultancies), regulators etc. These are their own organisations, with their own cultures with underlying behaviours, that also need to change.

It's easy to tell someone else or another organisation that they need to shift their mindsets and behaviours. However, following the Francis Report, the best place for everyone to start is by looking at their own teams and organisations, assessing their own culture, and making the efforts to change their own personal and group behaviours. This needs to happen not only for those organisations who deliver health care services, but also those organisations that are government funded to support the delivery of healthcare.

For these "outsider" organisations, the cultural and behavioural questions need to be reflective of their own internal behaviours and the impact these have had on NHS delivery organisations. They also need to be an honest appraisal of the cultural norms that exist within, and how these may be played out in the way they "support" the NHS Delivery organisations.

No-one needs a consultant or a clever framework to do these reviews, nor an expensive and complicated change programme. Large change initiatives operate as a displacement activity for not facing up to the details of the changes required. Real change starts with two people sitting down, telling their stories to each other, listening, mulling over the behaviours that may need adapting, then committing to have a go at changing their own behaviour, and to including others in their conversations.