Tag Archives: Collaboration

Becoming digital champions

Library and Knowledge Services (LKS) at Nottinghamshire Healthcare sits within the Health Informatics (HIS) department. I’m fortunate that I am a member of the Senior HIS Management Team, which means I am strategically placed to advocate the skills and services of LKS within ICT. I realised that this had obviously worked when the Head of Digital Services (IT) asked if the LKS team would become Digital Champions for the Trust and support the role out of MS Teams across the whole Organisation during the pandemic.

If you have not come across this before, Digital Champions support digital inclusion through sharing their knowledge and experience to help others develop their digital skills. You don’t have to be an IT guru to be one, but what is important is being motivated to help others at their own pace, and most importantly admitting when you don’t know the answer but will find out!

As a member of the Digital Workplace Project Group, responsible for enabling our Trust to work more digitally, I knew the plan was always to roll out teams using a Digital Champion network within both clinical and non-clinical teams across our Organisation. However, COVID forced our hand. The roll out we had been planning was changed from months to days. The Teams pilot, which LKS had been part of, had to be upscaled to the whole Trust in record time.  The LKS team would become the Digital Champions for the entire Organisation to take the additional pressure away from our IT Support Service.

There was no remit of how this support should be delivered but COVID meant that we must deliver support virtually. A dedicated inbox was created to manage enquiries, although we also responded via telephone, MS Teams and email depending on the complexity of the enquiry, enquirers preference and the implied digital literacy level of the enquirer.  We applied the same level of customer service that we use in LKS to respond quickly and answer enquiries directly to keep the business of the Organisation moving.

Based on the frequently asked questions we were receiving we created an MS Teams support page hosted on our Intranet. We created short visual support materials and provided frequent updates to the ever changing functionally of Teams.  This enabled us to signpost to key guidance and encourage independent learning across the Trust. We began hosting weekly ‘Drop in Sessions’ to cover the basics of MS Teams, giving staff the opportunity to see demonstrations and ask questions, as well as providing sessions for individual teams if requested. Due to the success and high demand we now offer daily ‘Drop in Sessions’. We write communications for the daily Chief Executive staff bulletin and weekly Line Managers update highlighting any changes or new functionality and signposting to the help section if a query has been raised several times recently.  We created an MS Team consisting of the Digital Champions and IT Support Service to facilitate knowledge sharing and problem solving. We are now adopting a more strategic level approach to aid adoption across the Organisation by approaching Managers directly, gaining an understanding of their information needs and selling the benefits of using teams and suggesting appropriate tools they could use with their teams.

At project level I have been involved in all aspects of the rollout and decision-making process, including governance and permission settings. Our Microsoft partner recognised the importance of having a Knowledge Manager involved at this level and the enhanced benefits this can bring.  I have been able to argue for the functionality I believe the business needs, including the upgrade of Communities (Yammer), so we can pilot this tool for Communities of Practice. I am the critical friend representing the user point of view, constantly reminding that digital literacy skills vary across the Organisation, and one training style does not fit all. Personally, as a relatively new manager it has been a fantastic learning opportunity to be centrally involved in a project at such scale and to work so closely and learn from our Senior Project Manager.

We made the decision from the onset that we would be transparent about who the Digital Champions were to raise the profile of the library across the Organisation. This may have been considered risky, but I wanted to showcase to our Trust what LKS can do, and we may never have this type of opportunity again. Although I haven’t got any metrics to substantiate this, I believe this has been effective. We have had some fantastic feedback, and colleagues appreciate our swift response to queries and our excellent customer service. Our “can do” attitude has built stronger relationships within not only IT but also with other services across the Trust, where I’m hoping “from little acorns mighty oaks grow”.

Our involvement in Digital Champions will continue whilst the project group work to develop what the long-term support for MS Teams and wider O365 tools will look like for our Trust. In the short- term we are looking to knowledge share and offer further training to volunteers within local teams across the Trust to grow the Digital Champions Network further.

At the beginning we were all apprehensive about taking on this role and moving out of our ‘library comfort zone’, but we knew we had the skills to do this, even if we were still developing the knowledge. All of us have found Digital Champions hugely rewarding as well as challenging at times! Most importantly we can see the difference we are making supporting our colleagues to change their working practices to continue to deliver services in these difficult times.

Samantha Roberts
Head of Knowledge Services
Nottinghamshire Healthcare

Place-based Care

What do we mean by place? There is much talk across health and social care about the future being “place-based” and it is not always easy to grasp what this is all about.

Here is an introduction to get you going:

Place-based

A simple proposition lies at the heart of place-based care: that we blur institutional boundaries across a location to provide integrated care for individuals, families and communities. Energy, money and power shifts from institutions to citizens and communities. Devolution becomes an enabler for a reform programme that starts to deliver on the long-held promise of joining up health and social care for a population in a place, with the ultimate aim to improve the public’s health and reduce health inequalities.”(1)

There is added value in:

    • collaborating at different levels in the system
    • building up from places and neighbourhoods
    • providing leadership across the system
    • focusing on functions that are best performed at scale” (2)

The King’s Fund offer the following definitions:

  • System – area covered by Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) or Integrated Care System (ICS) (size varies but they cover one to three million people)
  • Place – area covered by local authority (tend to cover populations of around 250,000 to 500,000 people)
  • Neighbourhood – smaller geography that might correspond to district council boundaries or covered by a primary care network (PCN) (tend to cover populations of around 30,000 to 50,000 people) (2)

What will this look like in practice?

Groups of organisations including NHS trusts and local authorities will work together as an STP to decide on priorities for their place, and this may evolve to form an ICS and work together more formally. This will mean people with local knowledge developing the right services for their population across a whole area. It is designed to acknowledge the fact these services are not experienced in isolation by the people using them – although they are run by separate organisations, the thing they all have in common is the people from that place. It may also mean trusts agreeing that staff can work across different sites, or for some highly specialised services to be offered by one trust rather than several.

 

National organisations such as HEE as well as NHS England and Improvement and Public Health England, have teams aligned to each STP or region. These teams will work as a link between the locally driven priorities, and nationally provided initiatives such as those to develop (in HEE’s case) the right workforce to meet the needs of each place as well as the country as a whole.

As a very simple (and entirely fictitious) example, Anytown identifies that they have an aging population and rates of dementia are predicted to increase. They need staff with the right skills to meet their population’s needs, to run the right services such as specialist dementia clinics. This local intelligence can be fed into national plans by HEE to create postgraduate courses for nurses to become specialist dementia practitioners with a number of places offered to nurses from the area. The same local intelligence also identifies that many of the city’s GP workforce is rapidly approaching retirement, and they could be facing a shortage soon. An initiative could see additional placements for trainee GPs offered, to help encourage new staff to consider moving to the local area.

So, it should mean greater collaboration between organisations within a particular area and ideally, seamless care for the person receiving it.

What might this mean for you in your library and knowledge service as you support place-based care? ​

Are there local partners who you need to work with to support and improve your offer across your STP or region?​

References:

  1. The journey to place-based health, Public Health Matters
  2. Health and Wellbeing boards and integrated care systems, The King’s Fund

Emily Hopkins and Katie Nicholas
Knowledge Management Service
Health Education England

Working collaboratively across distances within the NHS

Early 2018, Natalie Gabe and Chloe George were both asked to join the Library and Knowledge Services Engagement Group South. An opportunity to create and pilot a series of webinars for healthcare staff working in NHS South arose and we both put our names forward. We wanted to create a community of practice to share expertise and knowledge across the region ‘virtually’.

The plan was to run webinar sessions for each topic chosen and engage both professional and para-professional staff. We have run webinars on GDPR, PPI, Value & Impact and are planning much more.

We hadn’t spoken before we joined the group, let alone worked together. We soon discovered that although we had both participated in webinars neither of us had facilitated or booked a session before. We needed some training and needed to find a willing presenter for our first webinars. Calling upon regional expertise, we learnt how to use WebEx and how to organise an online training event.

Being responsible for the smooth running of the webinars was challenging. There is always the worry of technical problems but having the two of us helped this as we always had each other for support. Buddying up has been very rewarding and fun; it just felt so easy working alongside each other. Bringing people together and giving them the opportunity to get involved has been fantastic. The fact that the webinars are live, give us a buzz, not quite a radio show, but it feels great doing them.

If you would like to find out more about our webinar project, please contact us.

Chloe George
Senior Library Assistant
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust chloe.george@nhs.net

Nat Gabe
Knowledge Specialist
Hampshire Healthcare Library Service Natalie.Gabe@southernhealth.nhs.uk