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Empowering people to move away from a ‘blame culture’ and embrace patient safety improvement

14 July 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s 2019 Patient Safety Strategy outlines three strategic aims centred around Insight, Involvement and Improvement which, if achieved, could save almost 1,000 extra lives and £100 million in care costs each year from 2023/24.

The strategy document touches on a ‘fear of blame’ that is impeding the ability to continuously improve in this area and identifies that more can be done to share safety insight and empower people – patients and staff – with the skills, confidence and mechanisms to improve safety.

The impact of a blame culture can be catastrophic; if individuals do not feel safe to admit errors, they do not learn from them or act to prevent recurrence. So, there is an emphasis within the strategy on fostering a patient safety culture, the key ingredients for which include: staff who feel psychologically safe; valuing and respecting diversity; a compelling vision; good leadership at all levels; a sense of teamwork; openness and support for learning.

Learning is not a new concept within the NHS, in fact, The Berwick Report into patient safety in 2013, highlighted the most important single change required in the NHS at that time was  for it to become, more than ever before, a system devoted to continual learning and improvement of patient care, top to bottom and end to end.

Within this blog post, we explore how Radar’s software has been developed to align with the three strategic aims of NHSE and NHSI’s patient safety strategy, with a particular emphasis on how it can promote a learning culture, leading to continuous improvement through sharing best practice and lessons learnt.

INSIGHT – Improving understanding of safety by drawing intelligence from multiple sources of patient safety information

With the imminent introduction of a new safety learning system to replace the National Reporting and Learning System, the introduction of a Patient Safety Incident Response Framework and the formation of the National Patient Safety Alerts Committee, it is clear that the flow of information and data to and from healthcare organisations at both a macro and micro level needs to be managed effectively.

With centralised management of data, improving understanding of safety becomes and easier task but aggregating data from multiple sources can be problematic, particularly within the NHS.  Which is why we’ve focused on developing industry-standard APIs to facilitate the integration of multiple datasets into Radar, providing full visibility of performance and variation in one central location.

With analytics dashboards that can be configured to your requirements, these data-driven insights can tell a compelling story.  Data analysis can be carried out at the touch of a button; issues can be more easily identified; root cause investigation can be carried out to improve understanding; and knowledge and learnings shared automatically across the organisation.

This ‘openess’ of data sharing and the promotion of key safety measurement principles contributes significantly to the development of a patient safety culture.

INVOLVEMENT – Equipping patients, staff and partners with the skills and opportunities to improve patient safety throughout the whole system

With a drive to ensure the whole healthcare system is involved in the safety agenda, Radar takes a personalised approach to patient safety. The software delivers more than bringing your procedures, incidents, risks, audits, workforce and training compliance, action and improvement plans and other operational data into one central system; it delivers a personalised view for each individual within the organisation and highlights the contributions they can make to the patient safety agenda.

Radar supports the automation of processes and procedures so you can be sure that if an incident is logged, all the associated requirements i.e. notifications, mandatory forms etc. are triggered so nothing gets missed which in turn creates standardised behaviours. This in-built learning mechanism ensures that whatever stage of their development, staff are clear about their roles and responsibilities within any given situation and have the skills to follow it through.

Workforce competency and compliance is a fundamental basic requirement to creating a safe environment. But by going that step further and empowering your workforce with access to information and an understanding of how that information will be used, they will get better at identifying what is working well and amplify this; and respond appropriately to things that go wrong.

IMPROVEMENT – Designing and supporting programmes that deliver effective and sustainable change in the most important areas

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) become more meaningful with Radar.  Deep diving into data and analytics can unearth insights that support the design of new programmes and an ability to monitor their effectiveness e.g. Incident reduction programmes can be made more specific to look at reducing certain types of incidents which occur at certain times of the day because of the trends Radar has identified.

Once KPIs have been set and data starts to flow through Radar, automated algorithms and the predictive nature of machine learning can augment strategic decision-making by unearthing trends and insights that would take a human an age to compute. Radar can detect anomalies in performance and alert the appropriate people to ensure that matters are dealt with proactively.  Data thresholds can be set manually with requests for notifications if:

  • A KPI (i.e. number of falls) goes above a pre-determined level
  • Trends (i.e. number of complaints) change
  • You want to know every time something happens i.e. if there’s a safeguarding incident

About Radar Healthcare

Radar Healthcare provides quality and compliance focused software that helps improve the delivery of health and social care, whilst helping you evidence effectiveness and continuous improvement. With functionality from incident and risk management, to audit management and business compliance, Radar fully supports your quality management framework.  We know you aspire to be outstanding, so we help simplify the regulatory complexities you face, giving you more time to focus on delivering excellent care.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with us today, or book a demo of our software here.