The Development of the Patient Safety Incident Management System (DPSIMS) project have been announced as a finalist in the DL100 Digital Team of the Year category for 2018. They are a blended team of NHS Policy & Operational staff and delivery partner Informed Solutions, working to deliver a new digital service to support better learning from things that go wrong in healthcare. We are working together to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.
I am what is affectionately known as a policy wonk in the Patient Safety team in NHS Improvement, and we’re working on an exciting new digital service to support better learning from patient safety incidents. The new service will replace the current National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) and the even less popular Strategic Executive Information System (STEIS).
But our goal isn’t just a tech upgrade and like-for-like replacement – we want to support a transformation in the culture surrounding patient safety, from one of reactive reporting and counting, to being focused on helping our health care workers learn and improve.
To help us do this we are designing the new service in collaboration with users and working with the Government Digital Service and their Digital Service Standard. Since last November, we’ve been working through the alpha phase and I’ve been getting acquainted with my new role as product owner, and all things digital.
This is our team’s first agile project and it has been quite a learning curve. Luckily, our delivery partner, Informed Solutions, has been helping us adjust. Agile feels very different from the more traditional policy- and project-management styles – it’s more collaborative, more responsive, and much faster-paced. To get us started, the Informed team ran a few sessions to introduce us to agile concepts, set us up with some collaboration tools, and tackled our endless questions.
Agile development helps us focus our work around users, describing everything we do in the form of a user story. I’ve been telling people for years that that this project has the best stakeholders in the world, and the level of support we’ve received from outside the team has been amazing. It’s exciting (and terrifying!) to think that the new service has the potential to benefit such a large user community across nearly every area of health care.
To help us manage our user engagement, we started by grouping the potential user-base into 28 types (personas) and have worked extensively to get input from each of them during the alpha phase.
Asking health care workers to take time out away from their patients is never an easy task, so we’ve used a variety of techniques to reach people, including:
Our primary goal has been to make sure we understand how users see the world of patient safety, how it fits into their day-to-day work and world, and what they’d want from the system in terms of enabling learning and improvement. Over the past 3 months we’ve built a range of prototypes to explore what users are looking for in a digital service, including:
We think we’ve got a good idea of the overall user needs now, and over the next few weeks we’ll be setting out and sharing our plans for the beta phase.
My advice on this process for anyone who might be starting out:
With huge sighs of relief from all involved, I’m happy to say we passed our GDS Service Assessment for the alpha phase at the end of March, and so will next get cracking on building a full-feature service for our users. We’ve built up some real momentum in alpha and learned lots from our users and by prototyping. We’re all excited to see where the beta phase takes us!
This article was originally published here.