“Perfect Ward has enabled the nursing teams to collect and easily review nursing quality audit data, leading to improvements in patient care and safety. The app is easy to use which means the nursing staff are able to accommodate the weekly audits without it impacting on their busy schedules, and being able to see the results immediately means they are able to act on the information and feedback to the nursing teams, highlighting and correcting issues in a timely fashion.”
Corrina Hulkes, Head of Nursing – Children & Young People, North Middlesex Hospital University NHS Trust
Across healthcare, significant clinical effort is put into assessing the quality of care being provided. Working with Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network and the Health Innovation Network, Perfect Ward ran a series of workshops with quality leads from Acute, Mental and Community Healthcare providers to perfect the Quality Inspection Process.
The workshops brought together quality leads from 14 Trust across London and the South West, enabling them to share their experiences and knowledge in lively discussions around the key elements of Inspections.
Together, we developed best practice guidance on:
- how to develop the right set of questions (asked in the right way);
- put a robust process in place to ensure you have consistent, meaningful information; and,
- how to instil a positive culture that keeps staff fully engaged in the quality improvement process.
Perfect Ward is a smart inspection app made available to workshop attendees to try throughout the programme. It was developed to significantly improve the quality audit process by eliminating the administration and provides an easy way of ensuring a robust and effective process. At the end of the programme, several Trusts decided to use Perfect Ward.
Challenge/ problem identified
All healthcare providers need to continually assess the quality of care they provide and have a robust process in place to identify and address issues. The standards of care, defined by the Care Quality Commission provides a common set of guidance. As Perfect Ward engaged with a number of Trusts, it became evident that there is a substantial level of duplicated effort within Trusts in:
- developing their own inspection process from scratch
- developing question sets that provide sufficient assurance
As part of their engagement with Trusts, Perfect Ward has analysed many inspection processes and have found several issues that undermine the effectiveness of the inspection process, for example:
- Poorly phrased questions, leading to inconsistent responses from inspectors
- Delayed reporting (sometimes, of several weeks) on inspection findings meaning issues go unaddressed
Lack of consolidation and effective analysis of inspection results to find Trust wide issues.
Perfect Ward, together with Kent, Surrey and Sussex AHSN and the Health Innovation Network, approached a number of Trusts across London and the South East to participate in a series of workshops designed to help quality leads:
- Improve the quality of their inspection audits;
- Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their inspections through trial of the Perfect Ward inspection app;
- Develop a network for ongoing learning.
Each Trust was interviewed to find out about their existing processes, understand their issues and frustrations with their current process and obtain examples of their inspections that they were happy to share with other workshop attendees.
An online workshop forum was created enabling attendees to directly share their knowledge and experience.
Three workshops were held with all the Trust participants focusing on:
- The content of inspections
- The process of inspections
- The culture of inspections.
Quality audits are an essential tool for ensuring a high quality of patient care. By improving the effectiveness of the inspection process, Trusts can improve the quality of care.
- Improve quality inspection processes
Trust participants gained key insights into how they can improve their existing inspection process. Every participant felt that they had benefited from the programme*. The impact of this is hard to quantify but it is clear that significant effort is expended on quality audits. This effort is wasted when the process fails to provide accurate information in a timely way. By implementing the improvements suggested as part of the workshop will enable Trusts to provide increased assurance on quality.
- Adoption of Perfect Ward inspection app for quality inspections
Three Trusts have now implemented Perfect Ward and several others are evaluating the app. Perfect Ward benefits healthcare providers by:
- Eliminating the administration freeing up clinical time for caring. North Middlesex University NHS Trust have found that implementing Perfect Ward has released at least 8 hours of clinical time per ward per week.
- Providing a clear immediate, view of quality so you can start tackling issues straight away;
- Providing assurance of a robust inspection process with overdue audits and poorly performing areas clearly identified;
- Connecting with frontline staff. Perfect Ward enables all users to see the results of inspections in all areas with clear drill down information so they can easily understand what issues are undermining their performance.
- Build deeper understanding from department level up to site and division, with automated reporting meaning staff spend less time in front of a computer and more time in front of patients.
- Significantly reduce inspection and reporting time so you can start tackling issues straight away.
*based on feedback received from all participants
“The programme exceeded my expectations. I now understand where I can improve my audits with respect to accreditation.” Victoria Stevens, Assurance Manager, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
Plans for the future
Following the success of this programme, Perfect Ward is keen to engage with other Academic Health Science Networks to offer a similar range of workshops at a regional level. Our attendees very much valued the opportunity to meet their peers in other Trusts. They have significantly improved their understanding of what a good inspection process is and have been able to take away clear guidance as to how to improve their own process. Participants shared their existing toolkits with each other, saving valuable time on developing their own set of questions as well as providing challenge of their own inspections.
Which national clinical or policy priorities does this example address?
- Care and Quality
- Funding and Efficiency
Start and end dates
The programme involved three workshops on 31st January 2017, 14th March 2017 and 26th April 2017
Contact for help and advice
Project contacts for further information
Karen West, Head of Business Development, Perfect Ward
Sadie Leack, Senior Programme Manager, Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN
James Somauroo, Co programme director for Digital Health London (acting for Health Innovation Network)
Media contacts for further information
Karen West, Head of Business Development, Perfect Ward
Rick Fell, Head of Communications, Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN