“Success is all about collaboration.” DHCW’s Liz Wride shares her impressions of itSMF UK’s recent Sector Spotlight for service management professionals working in healthcare.
What do a customer feedback system, NHS England, sustainability, a service management tool, NHS Wales’ Welsh Nursing Care Record and a Shiny New Thing (that really helps) have in common?
The (first) answer is, of course: they all appeared on the bill at itSMF UK’s recent Sector Spotlight: Service Management in Healthcare, which gathered colleagues from across the UK for a three-hour Zoom extravaganza.
But the second (and possibly the most important) answer is people. The thing all those elements have in common is people.
Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW) (Keith Reeves, James Braun) and Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Lesley Jones kicked proceedings off with the Cinderella story of digitalisation, as their award-winning Welsh Nursing Care Record (WNCR) took them from paper-based assessments to iPads. For the staff involved in the project (which now boasts 17,000 users across Wales), it was people, not the absence of paper, that was key. “Service management was part of the process from the beginning,” DHCW’s Lee Everett-Pride told the (virtual) room. One of the lasting legacies of the project was the sense of pride and ownership the nurses and health care workers (the largest qualified workforce in the NHS) felt for the system. “We had a workforce to take with us on the digital journey.”
This people-centred ethos was echoed across the borders in NHS England and NHS Scotland, as Robert Marsh talked us through NHS England’s NHS App and Covid Pass; while Trickle CEO Paul Reid demonstrated that you don’t make a customer feedback system without breaking a few windows. Marsh spoke of “pushing Agile to the limits”under pandemic pressures, making his team into ‘social entrepreneurs’ via coffee mornings and ‘lunch and learns’. Reid, on the other hand, used a criminology theory from the 1980s (the Broken Window Theory) to pave the way for workplace champions, transparent conversations, and a sense of increased trust. (Reid’s presentation even demoed MoodSense™ to truly gauge how shiny and happy the people were).
CGI’s Howard Gray didn’t just give us people in his presentation – he gave us the whole sky (and the ground below it). ‘Towards a net zero NHS’ started with 1980s milk floats (the original electric vehicle!) and ended with CGI’s/University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust’s case study (understanding data to create a strategic, actionable roadmap to net zero). Tom Monaghan’s (Halo ITSM) session, ‘The move to hybrid working in the NHS’ was people-centric rather than people-adjacent. Yes, Halo-integrated technological solutions (such as MS Teams) were placed front and centre – but the figures spoke for themselves: “1.6 million co-workers on the same (MS Teams) system platform”. For me, nothing highlighted people more than Halo ITSM’s integration with emergent AI technology ChatGPT (I was the first in the chat box, asking questions – fuelled by a lifetime of watching sentient-AI-filled Sci-Fi). I needn’t have worried. This was not Orwellian nightmare fuel. Halo ITSM came down firmly on the side of early adopter and demonstrated agent-focused value.
Last but not least was Paul Wilkinson’s The Shiny New Thing that really helps! The psychology of the whole talk crystalised in the opening slide, as Wilkinson recounted a time he posted on LinkedIn as a joke that he’d invented a new thing… and got a ton of hits. Paul Wilkinson’s slides could be described, but I would never do them justice. His talks are delivered at pace, and his slides are something that need to be seen to be believed. The interactive style is unique (there are links, things to cut out and stick onto noticeboards, and Wilkinson’s’ infamous Top Scoring Cards). Wilkinson’s talk had people running right through it (from his ABCs of Attitude, Behaviour, Culture) to his closing remark that, if anyone uses elements of his slide to transform their workplace, they’re to let him know. That’s not just people, that’s people-centred feedback in action.
itSMF not only put the service management healthcare sector in the limelight but allowed them to shine in it. This was service management at its very best, because everyone was willing to tell you how they got there and the pitfalls to avoid. TrickleCEO Paul Reid gave us a glimpse of the downward trend that can occur when the broken windows process is promptly stopped, while Hywel Dda University’s Lesley Jones also said that they would do the WNCR Project, but “better… as [they] have learnt so many lessons.”
As I logged off after the 3-hour session (that flew by!) and accompanying Q&A, the closing words of DHCW/Hywel Dda University Health Board’s presentation rang in my ears: “Success is all about collaboration”.
itSMF UK’s event highlighted the people-centric side of ITSM. It was all about collaboration as a way to bring about positive change and work together to utilise technology for the better. For me (and this is just my opinion), service management often appears misunderstood – it possesses no clear definition. Yet the people involved are true trailblazers. It takes a special group of people to take their projects and ideas, overcome the challenges, deal with emerging technology, tackle the big-scale problems, and emerge on the other side with shiny, happy people.
itSMF UK’s Sector Spotlight: Service Management in Healthcare took place on 24th April 2023 via Zoom. View the recording.