“Staff working in healthcare are inherently problem-solvers, and those at the sharp-end of delivering care are best placed to identify areas for improvement. But on a busy shift, moments of inspiration or ‘micro-improvements’ can be lost,” Consultant Radiologist and ImproveWell co-founder Dr Na’eem Ahmed explains.
“As a junior doctor, I wondered how I could get my ideas to the right decision makers in an institution as complex as the NHS. I looked around at all these dedicated colleagues, their expertise, and their potential to make care better – and I knew we needed do something. So, I built a mobile application to capture these micro-improvements and ideas, aimed at junior doctors.”
But that was just the beginning – following positive feedback, Na’eem needed someone to help grow the idea and widen the impact. “We actually met at school and met up again when Na’eem asked for my help on a charity project,” Lara Mott, CEO and co-founder, continues.
“I have a degree in pharmacology and was working in the biotech and healthcare investment sectors. People thought I was mad to leave a safe, well-paid job to launch a HealthTech start-up, but I don’t regret it for one moment. I wanted to make positive change in the NHS.”
“Developed in partnership with healthcare organisations, ImproveWell’s feedback systems provide a platform for people to drive change, together.”
They both felt passionately about developing something that’s beneficial but grounded on the right values. Na’eem describes their approach as “the art of possible – it’s everyone’s business to get involved in improvement, it doesn’t have to be a specialism.”
So, the original Junior Doctor feedback app developed into something much more wide-reaching and sophisticated. It has become the purpose-built staff engagement solution for improvement for the frontline, regardless of role or background. “We wanted to be routed in, and relevant to, the healthcare service,” says Na’eem.
“Continuing working in the NHS keeps me wedded to both that mission and, importantly, to what matters most – excellent patient care.”
They have built a team around them that shares their excitement for the possibilities of participatory change, and just as crucially, have partnered with high-profile customers along the way to ensure the solution is highly-honed, evidence-based and customer-centric “Bringing brilliant people together is the secret to innovation – especially in healthcare,” Lara says.
Even before the pandemic, healthcare systems globally are under increasing pressure to deliver better care at lower cost, against a backdrop of ageing populations, funding pressures and an over-stretched workforce.
The pandemic has exacerbated these issues and brought new challenges of its own: from acute staff burnout, redeployment, and managing rapid change to learning how to navigate recovery and the ‘new normal’. Gathering real-time insights from the frontline, monitoring staff experience and involving everyone in service improvement has never been more critical.
The ImproveWell solution is grounded in three principles: those on the frontline are best-placed to improve the systems they work in; giving staff a voice and empowering them to find solutions to the challenges they face is fundamental to staff engagement and positive experience; and a happier workforce leads to better patient outcomes.
24/7 everyone can: suggest ideas for improvement; share how their workday is going; and complete tailored pulse surveys. Insights from wider stakeholder groups can also be tapped via customisable online portals. An intelligent data dashboard helps group and organisational leads to capture real-time data, track workforce sentiment, prioritise quality improvement efforts, measure change and publish reports to complete the feed-back loop.
But ImproveWell is not just a staff engagement solution: a dedicated Customer Success team provides consultative onboarding and ongoing advice. Furthermore, partner organisations can join a community of healthcare improvers offering opportunities for collaboration and sharing best practice. Simply put, the ImproveWell solution helps create the right environment for wellbeing at work and continuous improvement.
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“ImproveWell has been embedded into our learning system with complete ease. We’ve been drawing on staff and patient insights. It’s given us the ability to analyse the data and put it into the right people’s hands to make changes and improvements.”
Dr Dominique Allwood, Medical Director of NHS Nightingale Hospital London.
“For a healthcare leader, there is little that trumps looking after the wellbeing of our staff. We’re proud to have worked with such a thoughtful and skilful team in creating a product that we hope will support healthcare organisations across the globe to enhance joy in work.”
Dr Amar Shah, Chief Quality Officer at East London NHS Foundation Trust.
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© 2019. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.