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The open digital health accelerator – a rich knowledge sharing community

A digital accelerator ran by an open community sharing its knowledge as high impact innovators move through a series of project milestones, rewarding those who help along the way

Read comments 4
  • Proposal
  • 2022

Meet the team

Also:

  • Michael Watts
  • Micah Weightman
  • James Lomas
  • Chris Bell
  • Sam Ouanounou
  • Razanne Abdalla

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

Innovation accelerator programmes can be very exclusive and reliant on the privilege of the innovator to get ideas through red-tape to a viable standard, regardless of how good they are. In healthcare this disproportionately attracts innovators from the medical and management workforce, excluding many front-line and lower banded staff. One problem is that while front line staff may have good digital ideas where they are closest to the problems, they are not necessarily equipped with improvement expertise to methodically develop and test ideas to a level where they are ready to work in the health system. But improvement expertise alone is not enough. Many digital solutions need to also be commercially viable for sustainability, scale and spread. Of course a digital idea also needs digital expertise. So a balance is required between inclusive community approaches, improvement support, business support and digital expertise. The health system does not currently provide this.

What does your project aim to achieve?

Blüm Health and Hexitime believe that all innovators should be given the opportunity to bring about change. We will create a sustainable digital-improvement accelerator, powered by the expertise of an improvement community and a digital community. The project will deliver the first wave, with an evaluation to assess the viability of future waves incorporating any learning made in the first 12 months. The innovations participating in the accelerator will be focused on reducing health inequalities, but we will also use the community approach to reduce barriers to entry and support those with good ideas to help them reach their potential. This will better support lower banded staff and even patients to participate. We will also demonstrate how the supporting communities can benefit as they help innovators, by reimbursing time capacity into their own projects using Hexitime.

How will the project be delivered?

Blüm Health is an innovative digital community run by NHS doctors and software engineers, which serves to collaborate with people with good ideas who need access to software development and design capability to improve healthcare. Hexitime is a diverse community of improvement enthusiasts and professionals who support each other to improve health and care services with a unique time currency timebank. This project seeks to connect digital innovators from the Blüm digital community with improvement people from Hexitime and Q. Blüm will use their expertise as a digital accelerator to identify high potential ideas and support the innovator(s) in realising their value proposition and vision through Blüm’s bespoke tried and tested project roadmap. Q members will support with improvement expertise through the Hexitime timebank, being reimbursed with time currency for their efforts. Time currency can then be used by Q members to bring in resources to deliver local improvement projects.

How is your project going to share learning?

The very nature of what Blüm and Hexitime set out to achieve has the principles of knowledge sharing running through it. Our evaluation will better understand the viability of a joint community accelerator where all participants benefit, and the multiplier effect it can have on improvement capability. If successful, it will support future iterations of the joint community accelerator that can be scaled geographically and in number of applicants as more people in the community participate. Each of the innovations will be written up and distributed so the detail of how this works can be widely understood for future versions. This will be supported by video interviews and journal publications. Blüm health will distribute case studies through the digital community drawing on the impact of combining an improvement approach to innovation. The successful innovations will also share their time on Hexitime to coach and prepare the next wave of applicants.

How you can contribute

  • The expert - Could you provide skills to the innovators on the accelerator? Consider offering them on Hexitime.com and what you will do with the time credits you earn from sharing.
  • The Critical Friend - challenge always welcome!
  • The Promoter - A community accelerator will be more powerful with the more people who contribute. So we will need people with good ideas, and people with useful skills for helping them to join the project.

Plan timeline

1 Sep 2022 Accelerator call for innovators
1 Nov 2022 Blüm accelerator bespoke support
1 Feb 2023 Refined ideas open to community phase for development
1 Jun 2023 Evaluation phase and review of impact

Comments

  1. I'm honoured to be involved in this accelerator as Blüm Health's Portfolio Manager. I look forward to exploring the opportunity further!

  2. Hi John and Myra,

    This is an interesting proposal. Can you explain a bit more about how you will enable front-line, lower-banded staff and patients to participate in this work? What activities will you do to engage them, and how will you managing the anticipated challenges in this? On this last point, you may find the learning from this 2019 Q Exchange project of use https://q.health.org.uk/idea/2019/qi-training-project-support-for-trust-support-services/.

    I was also wondering about the evaluation. I imagine you have learning from when you were getting started with Hexitime, but I was wondering what your realistic expectations are of an evaluation within this timescale? What evaluation methods and approaches will you use to ensure you have the evidence you need around the viability of this approach?

    Jo

    (commenting in a personal capacity, not in my capacity as a member of the Q team)

    1. Hi Jo, I can reply in the capacity of one of the founders of Hexitime. We have added functionality onto Hexitime that automates quite nuanced evaluation.

      We have just completed an NIHR-funded research study on the use of timebanking to increase equity among researchers of which more here: https://hexitime.com/research-for-all . Through this, we have learned how to weave the evaluation into the platform itself.

      This includes a new function in which participants self-assess against their progress against a Goal that they have signed up for. This serves as motivation for them and allows us to determine if they need support and sign-post them to it on Hexitime. We can now also use this to understand the impact of this proposal, but with more relevant goals to this project:

      https://hexitime.com/goals

    2. Hi Jo, if I can answer your first point,

      Thank you for sharing that project from 2019, it resonates with a project I ran as a junior doctor called 'ward to board' which brought frontline staff into an open forum with senior / c suite directors at my local trust. It was a great success, but the resource requirements were vast, and so the hope here is that we can deliver the same sort of support (regardless of profession, pay grade, or whether you're an intrapreneur or entrepreneur) through virtual support. From an implementation perspective, we will leverage many of the newsletters that our network already have in place, but in those harder to reach places such as NHS Trust internal emails, we require the support of the Q Community to push this into their local healthcare providers to raise awareness and encourage them to take part. By providing a QR code that can be added to posters or embedded within emails, the staff are only one scan away from being on boarded onto the programme.

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