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Connecting Improvers is a group/network that has organically developed since the end of March. Our Quality Improvement team, at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SABP) was really keen to connect with other Improvement teams and colleagues to find out how they were supporting each of their organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic and share learning and ideas.

Back in March we put a tweet out to the Improvement community to see if people would be interested in connecting together and we were blown away by the number of people that got in contact. We set up a call for the 27 March, and had a really insightful discussion around people’s roles, areas of work, redeployment and how we strengthen virtual networks at a time when conferences and events may be postponed. Following on from the call, we connected with the Q team to discuss the possibility of running some future calls, and we started planning the second call together.

Adapting QI training for a virtual world

On the 22 May, we partnered with the Q Community to host the second Connecting Improvers call, which focused on virtual QI training and we had over 80 fellow Improvers on the call.

One of the areas highlighted by colleagues at ELFT was around the importance of managing technology and the need for a technology facilitator

We were fortunate to be joined by colleagues from East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) who shared their experience of turning their Pocket QI course into a virtual course. ELFT talked us through their different PDSA cycles and shared key learning. One of the areas highlighted by colleagues at ELFT was around the importance of managing technology and the need for a technology facilitator to help the presenter. They found it helpful to provide a “how to” on using the technology at the start of the session. They also talked about allocating clear roles for members of the team throughout the call. Coincidentally we were testing some of these during the Connecting Improvers call; having people manage the chat and summarising key themes.

We also shared the work we have been doing at SABP to develop a virtual Suicide Prevention training course and how we are looking into possibly developing podcast style sessions, so they work around clinician’s time. Lou Waters from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust shared with us a Fishbone (Ishikawa) diagram that she had developed regarding developing a virtual QI training package/course:

Following the presentations, we tested doing an interactive exercise and using a virtual improvement tool ourselves. We used the Force Field Analysis tool to discuss the driving forces (positive forces of change) and restraining forces (barriers to change) that we may have experienced or could experience when creating virtual training and/or adapting existing training to be delivered virtually. We used the rich conversation and comments in the chat box to create the driver diagram below. Those on the call were keen to continue this discussion further and since then we have set up a Q Community Special Interest Group which is open to all.

It was a great opportunity for us to learn together to ensure we are able to provide the right help and support to our organisations

It was great to see so many fellow Improvers sharing their learning and expertise around this area, and how we are applying our own improvement tools and methods to adapting and developing virtual training. It was a great opportunity for us to learn together to ensure we are able to provide the right help and support to our organisations at a time when people are continuously improving and rapidly testing changes. We asked those when registering to attend, if they had any particular areas they would like to discuss together, and we briefly reflected on these areas towards the end of the call. We agreed we would look to host other calls to reflect on these areas and hope to get further details out to you in the near future.

A big thank you to all those who were able to join us, and we look forward to connecting together again soon.

Watch the recording of the Connecting Improvers call.

Join the Delivering Virtual Training Special Interest Group to share your insight and learn from others.

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