5 August 2020

Tech Champions – Supporting the Quality Improvement Department with New and Existing Technology

Figure 1. Tech Champions in the Quality Improvement Department testing new and innovative ways of doing things.In early 2020 not everybody in the Quality Improvement Department was up to speed with the latest software and technology that was available to us. This was exacerbated when the Covid-19 lockdown began, and we needed to find new and remote ways to improve each team member’s confidence and ability to navigate and utilise these technologies successfully.

In order to support colleagues to improve their technology skills, we called out to team members that felt confident in their technology skills, to volunteer as Technology Champions. The Tech Champions would then further explore new and existing technologies, or equipment, and then share their learning and guidance with the rest of the Department via virtual learning sessions on Microsoft Teams.

An early change idea to raise the profile of the Tech Champions, and to highlight our expertise for innovation and technical support, we added the ‘C’ (for Champion) icon on our profile pictures across our NHS.net and Office 365 software profiles.

Ahead of our first tech learning sessions we polled the department using Microsoft Forms to try and gather people’s thoughts on what they would like to focus on. This generated a lot of interest and gave us an understanding of our priorities for learning needed to be. We also conducted an audit of all technology being used in the department, this has further enabled us to gauge how to design learning sessions and guidance. The audit uncovered the root cause of some of our recent technical issues, such as not having the right licenses or software updates.

One key objective for each tech learning sessions was to ensure that by the end of the session, each participant left feeling that they had learned something new. It was also important to us that participants experienced them as a safe space to ask questions, admit to errors free from judgement, and a place to practice.

Our first learning session about Microsoft Teams (on Teams) was a success, our expected audience all attended and remained engaged throughout. They had the chance to explore Teams basic features, as well as advanced functionality which had been discovered by Tech Champions following updates from Microsoft. Our second learning session focused on the use of Zoom. This enabled the team to become more comfortable with ever-growing demand for the use of breakout rooms in many virtual sessions running across ELFT.

As with all improvement work, we are measuring our impact, and using a ‘Menti’ survey (Figure 2) for the first two sessions we saw that we were on the right track, and that queries had been answered satisfactorily.

Having a diverse group of Tech Champions representative of all sub-teams within the QI Department has facilitated information sharing about upcoming technology developments.

Figure 2. Asking the participants if the trainings delivered is relevant to their needs?

What have we learnt as Tech Champions?

We realised that we have access to a lot of technologies, and the sheer variation means that it’s difficult for many people to keep up, and almost everyone to fully benefit from truly understanding core systems.

While working virtually and relying on technology the demand for support and learning was strong and growing, so we needed to prioritise learning around key systems that are essential for us, such as Teams, SharePoint and Zoom.

For this reason, we initially made it a closed group for the QI Department, however, we intend to extend the invitations wider in future, to also include the Quality Assurance team.

Once we realised that there was a great demand for learning sessions, and that technology is becoming the norm for most people now, we quickly realised that this could create bottlenecks in the future.

In order to pre-empt these bottlenecks, we set up a working group and are in the process of creating a process map to see where some of the future bottlenecks may arise, as well as focus on the process of testing new and existing software, and decide how to integrate them into daily use.

In the future, we plan on using different platforms during the learning sessions, in order to create a more interactive session for the participants, so that they have an opportunity to practice using the technology too.

Although the Quality Improvement department created Tech Champions to assist in improving the team’s technological skills, we in turn boosted our own tech skills even further too, as we have had to brush up on our own knowledge, in order to confidently deliver these training sessions (see Figure 3). After the first training session “we realised that in order to help others, we must first help ourselves!”

Figure 3. Tech Champions competency across software

Story by Akkash Purani (Senior Improvement Data Analyst) and Shuhayb Ramjany (QI Training & Programme Support Officer)

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