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Visit to Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust: Flow Coaching Academy

Q members discovered how Imperial College London empowers frontline staff to improve patient flow and experience of a healthcare system.

11 Sep 2019


Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Improving both flow of patients and their experience of healthcare systems are important issues for many Q community members – as well as improvers more widely. Flow Coaching is unique to the UK and is gaining momentum as more and more organisations adopt and adapt the methodology. The long-term aim of the FCA is to build improvement capacity and capability through training thousands of coaches across the UK. Since 2015, the FCA programme has trained over 171 coaches from 14 hospitals across the UK. The FCA approach has enabled frontline health and care teams to improve patient care, experience and to create efficiencies through redesigning 85 care pathways.

This visit provided Q members with an opportunity to explore the techniques and approaches used by the Flow Coaching Academy (FCA), alongside understanding the impact of this approach within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Why Imperial College London?

With support from Sheffield, Imperial have developed their own Flow Coaching Academy, establishing significant ‘big rooms’ that are delivering improvements across healthcare within their Trust.

What was learnt?

Flow Coaching combines the IHI Model for Improvement with team coaching at a mesosystem or care pathway level to deliver quality improvements. Building on improvement science knowledge currently used by many Q members, it adds further relational elements through the coaching skills.

Throughout this visit, Q members saw different way of approaching improvement, focusing on the approach of building a ‘big room’, a physical container where improvement teams meet regularly to tackle difficult care pathway (and cross-functional) issues.

Aims and objectives

The aim of this visit was to introduce the Flow Coaching Academy, big rooms (and how they work in practice), the experience of being a coach and how to measure the wider impact of the approach. By the end of the session Q members:

  • Learnt about an innovative approach to improving care along pathways and embedding quality improvement into business as usual.
  • Gained experience of big rooms (including the opportunity to go to one) observing some of the key tools and techniques from the programme.
  • Met coaches who are actively coaching big rooms and learn from their experiences.
  • Learnt about an approach to evaluating improvement programmes in way that you’ll be able to take back to your organisation.

Resources (Members only)

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Slides from the day

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Read more about the day: Flow Coaching – empowering front line staff to make improvements