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Q Lab UK update: Sharing experiences and understanding the system

Zarina Siganporia, Q’s Innovation and Collaboration Manager, shares an update on the first Q Lab UK workshop exploring how to build staff and patient trust and confidence in tech-enabled remote monitoring.

On Tuesday 23 November, we brought together contributors and test teams for the first time in a virtual workshop to kick off the research and discovery phase of Q Lab UK’s third project. Over 60 people from across the health and care system working in digital and improvement joined us to begin collaboratively exploring this topic.

This is the first Q Lab UK workshop that I’ve been involved in, and I was struck by how the Lab truly provides space and permission for people to contribute their professional and personal perspectives.

On a personal level, the topic of technology-enabled remote monitoring feels particularly pertinent to me: I switched to using a remote glucose monitoring system 18 months ago as part of my diabetes self-management. The decision to switch wasn’t completely straightforward. I had many questions: How accurate would the data be? Would I become obsessed with scanning my readings, and become over reliant on the data? How would it impact on my relationship with my consultant?

So it was exciting for me to connect with so many motivated, invested people, passionate about this topic, who are in positions to build staff and patient confidence in this topic. And to see people creating energy, building momentum, a sense of community and helping each other see the wider system.

Read on to find out what we got up to in each session:

  1. Sharing experiences
  2. Understanding the system
  3. Skills for collaborative change

Session 1: Sharing experiences

The first session was designed to give participants space to meet others and gain a deeper understanding of tech-enabled remote monitoring from different perspectives. We ran a storytelling activity in small groups with each participant invited to tell their group about a time when they’ve experienced, engaged with or implemented tech-enabled remote monitoring. What did they see, hear or feel? What factors impacted their trust and confidence? After each person had shared, there was time to discuss anything that surprised or resonated with them.

Some of the key themes from discussions were:

  • Tech-enabled remote monitoring isn’t for everyone. People need to be given choice, and services need to consider how they manage more ‘hybrid’ models of care.
  • Remote monitoring offers an opportunity for a better model of care for some people through giving them ownership, improved self-management and an individualised experience.
  • But it also has the potential to increase the digital divide, in both the context of staff confidence and patient access.
  • Too often people have experienced co-production being an afterthought rather than the starting point.
  • There are other systemic issues around integration and alignment of services that lead to a poorer experience, with data sharing mentioned as a common challenge.

Participants really valued hearing the depth and breadth of experiences in the room and connecting with others. We heard how these discussions had sparked new thinking and made them consider new issues on the topic.

“Story telling is a great way to connect with other people, hear their standpoints and help grow the ability to relate to them and start including their points in your worldview.” Q Lab UK participant

Download the session 1 slides

Session 2: Understanding the system

In our second session, we started to explore a systems view of the challenge, specifically who and what influences patient and staff trust and confidence in technology-enabled remote monitoring.

Draft system map
Draft system map

Prior to the session, we invited participants to share their thoughts in a short questionnaire. We received responses from 40 participants and 25 contributors attended sensemaking sessions. Using this early insight, we collaboratively developed a draft system map that we shared in the session. Hosted on an online mapping platform, the map identifies the different factors that affect trust and confidence, and how they connect and influence each other. We asked participants to consider the map in small groups which resulted in lively discussions about which factors are most critical, and who has a role in influencing them.

The map will continue to evolve as we go through the Lab process incorporating comments from this and future sessions. We will share an updated version on the online group, and would welcome any feedback, comments or reflections. We hope it will be used by participants and other improvers as they progress work in their services and local systems to design and implement technology-enabled remote monitoring.

Explore the map Download the session 2 slides

Session 3: Skills for collaborative change

Back in 2020, we launched Skills for collaborative change, a skills map and user guide. Developed with Q members, previous Lab participants and Nesta, it outlines the skills and attitudes needed to enhance collaborative working.

Our final session of the day provided dedicated time to use the skills map and reflect on the skills people have seen and valued in others, and areas they’d like to develop throughout the Lab. We’ll be continuing to use the skills map as a guide throughout all the Lab workshops, to help people consider the skills they have, need and are developing.

“It’s been great having such a diversity of skills from technical innovation through system wide implementation, lived experience etc. I think this will lead to some really valuable discussions.” Q Lab UK participant

You can download the map and user guide from the Q website and start using it straight away with your teams.

Download the skills map and user guide

What next?

We’re looking forward to workshop 2 on Thursday 22 January 2022 which will provide the opportunity to hear from test teams and bring together what we are learning from the research and discovery phase. We’ll also start to connect local learning from test teams and contributors to the wider system view we started to develop in workshop 1 with the map.

After an unpredictable past 18 months, it’s felt great to kick off the third Lab project and build a sense of community.

In the meantime, the test teams will be undertaking work in their areas and we’ll be running some peer learning sessions for contributors.

I’d like to end by thanking everyone who attended the workshop for your energy, engagement and participation throughout. I particularly liked this quote from the end of the day that sums up what the Lab is all about for me: ‘People from across the ‘system’ are helping me to actually see the wider system.’

What resonates with you from what I’ve shared? Is there anything you’d like to find out more about? I’d love to hear any thoughts from you in the comments or via email.

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