Meet the team: The Improvement Game
Continuous improvement programme manager
Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust
- England - London (West)
Central London Community Healthcare
- England - London (North, East and Essex)
- England - London (South)
- England - London (West)
- Andy Yeoman, Focus Games Ltd.
What is the challenge or opportunity you are focusing on?
Embedding quality improvement at the frontline is an urgent priority for the NHS. However, many Trusts are struggling to explain continuous quality improvement and make it part of the ‘day job’ rather than something only applied when a high-profile incident occurs.
There are many programmes, tools and resources available to develop QI capability and support QI projects. Unfortunately, very few of them are sufficiently accessible to enable front line teams to apply and adopt QI as a normal way of working. Some QI training may enthuse participants but when they return to their workplace they find that no one else understands what they now know, and so QI methods are not adopted.
Research carried out into the effectiveness of QI training at CLCH tells us that without a conducive workplace learning environment 50% of training has no effect on frontline practices. Our current focus is on increasing understanding of QI among leaders and front line teams to help them make QI part of their day job. Being a geographically dispersed community Trust is a significant barrier to engaging directly with staff because we cover over 450 sites across London and Hertfordshire. This challenge is not unique to CLCH.
Online and traditional lectures may not reflect the complexities of real life situations in an accessible way (Bochennek et al 2007). Educational games give players the opportunity to explore new ideas in a risk-free way that encourages discussion about improvement (Akl et al 2013).
Furthermore, games enable staff to utilise higher thinking skills, such as analysis and synthesis, while the learning process is enjoyable and stress-free which may aid retention of knowledge (Akl et al 2013).
We currently use board games, developed by Focus Games Ltd, to help frontline teams reflect on performance and to co-create improvement plans. We believe that a game specifically designed to embed a systematic approach to continuous improvement will help the NHS achieve widespread adoption of QI.
Focus Games Ltd has developed over 60 educational games since 2004 and they are being used widely in hospitals, universities and care homes.
Working with Focus Games Ltd we would develop an educational board game around the CLCH QI framework. This evidence-based framework and the game would be relevant to all NHS organisations. The game would be a portable and reusable ‘workshop in a box’ that could be played by any frontline team, in the workplace, without any external support.
The game would accommodate between 4-12 players for 30-60 minutes as an informal activity or as part of structured learning. The game would be supported by online resources.
We propose to manufacture 500 games to be distributed free of charge to NHS organisations via The Q Network.
What is the benefit you hope to achieve?
Within any organisation using the game we expect:
- A more supportive environment for quality improvement
- A broader understanding and appreciation of a continuous improvement system
- An increase in the number of teams that are involved in improvement projects
- An increase in the number of improvement projects taking place across the trust
- An increase in the proportion of QI trainees reporting active use of their learning
What benefits do you expect for the Q community?
This would be a generic game that would be applicable to teams in every setting. 500 games would be distributed free of charge to organisations agreed with the Q Community.
What would supporting and funding this initiative give to other Q members?
Members would have access to an unusual and effective tool to support their own QI activities.
How do you plan to share your work and learning with the Q community?
The game would have its own website and Twitter account.
How you can contribute
- Whilst we are proposing to develop and pilot the game at CLCH. We would welcome involvement of others who might wish to
More_than_mere_games_A_review_of_card_and_board_ga (PDF, 175KB)