Jacqui Jones, Senior Project Manager
Andeep Chohan, Service Improvement Officer
Jonathan Turnbull Ross, Quality Improvement Lead
Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust
Following collaborative working across the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) through the WAST Improvement and Innovation Network (WIIN) Steering Group, it was agreed that a digital portal needed to be developed for staff to submit their ideas and project proposals. The WIIN Portal launched 25th March 2019 and has been accessible to all staff via the WAST intranet.
The WIIN Portal was developed based on feedback from engagement with staff and provides an accessible, user friendly and consistent process for staff to submit suggestions and ideas for improvement proposals.
When ideas are submitted, the WIIN Business Group, a multi-disciplinary team, convene to undergo a formal process of reviewing the ideas. The WIIN Business Group is a cross directorate team involving people with specialist experience and knowledge in improvement including two Improvement Advisors. A consistent method for sorting is utilised in the form of a scoring matrix.
A second review of those ideas deemed as clinical and appropriate is undertaken by the Clinical Improvement Team and the ideas are placed into their most appropriate categories (Research, Audit or Clinical Improvement).
Image: The WIIN Process
The overall aim of the WIIN platform was to implement a front facing ideas portal for all staff to access with their ideas to improve operational function and patient care.
This would include a framework and practical platform that would provide tools, guidance and support to all staff wanting to embark on an improvement or innovative project, promote opportunities for training and education, particularly IQT Bronze, and Silver level training, promote and encourage patient centered care and improvements directed at organisational issues & priorities and promote improvement and innovative thinking through empowerment and permission to deliver projects and initiatives.
Historically, WAST staff have been duplicating ideas and projects, often implementing new ways of working in isolation from other areas of the Trust. This is because the Trust did not have a central focus on projects taking place and no one place to submit ideas. This has resulted in variation of processes across the Trust and repetition of work, often without any co-production. Therefore the aim was also to encourage co-production with all projects across and outside of the Trust, to reduce inappropriate variation and focus on patient/organisational priorities.
Lessons learned from challenges during this project was a fundamental part of the process. The project spanned 3 Directorates, therefore initially reporting to 3 Senior Responsible Officers (SROs). Although working cross-directorate was extremely advantageous and necessary, it proved more useful, in relation to quick decision making, to report to one SRO.
Following the launch of the WIIN ideas portal momentum tended to wane, however it helped to have a full communications strategy that was implemented at the start of the project. In addition the WAST Communications Lead was extremely supportive throughout the programme.
The WIIN website was built using the ‘NHS Howis’ system, Cascade. This system was difficult to navigate and limited in its applications. The intranet website ideally should be upgraded, utilising an expert source, if it is to reach its full potential. To keep the website as up to date as possible, one person is responsible for updates, which take place on a regular basis. In addition the system has now updated to Share Point.
A benefits/measures plan was developed as part of the WIIN platform project charter, containing the expected benefits of the project and illustrating how these would be measured and assessed.
Project-level benefits and measures were defined as:
Number of Ideas added to Ideas Warehouse
Number of Ideas Signposted (e.g. Clinical Audit, Research, Formal project)
Number of Silver IQT projects completed
Number of Small scale projects completed (tests for change)
Number of Projects requiring further information
Number of Just Do It projects
Number of Audit projects completed
Number of Formal (Prince2 style) projects completed
Number of IHI projects completed
Number of page hits
Number of submissions received
Key themes, origin of submission and Bronze and Silver IQT training completions are also recorded and measured.
Moving forward, WAST have now updated their intranet site from Cascade to Sharepoint. This has allowed us to create a more user friendly WIIN web page. Clinical staff now have access to tablets and the majority of non-operational staff have the equipment to work from home, due to the pandemic, so this will allow staff to access the portal remotely until we can persue the development of an app.
The next steps will be to develop a WIIN digital dashboard on Qlik Sense which will collate the data responses for us, allowing Trust leads to access the information in real time and determine trends and themes.
Our Exemplar Experience
Our experience with the Bevan Commission has been extremely positive. We attended a number of their workshops and picked up new tools and skills that we could apply ourselves and share with our organisation, we also linked in with like-minded people working on their own projects. Throughout the pandemic we felt supported by the Bevan Commission team who helped us to keep the momentum going with our projects.