I was lucky enough to present at the recent APAC Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare. Held during September in Auckland, New Zealand, the Forum provided an opportunity to learn what is happening across the world as health organisations look at the quality of care they deliver.
There were 2 big themes that ran throughout APAC: empathy and sharing.
In her keynote speech, Maureen Bisognano, President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) focused on ‘Curing and Caring’. She said that empathy with patients and colleagues is vital if we are to learn from what happened in Mid Staffs. We should be using the best science and latest technology for curing and looking at caring for patients as a whole, including their family and circumstances, not only their illness. This will lead us to new conversations with patients about health and wellbeing.
Maureen used an animation from Doc Mike Evans (follow him on Twitter) who is a great example of how to take the health conversation to people. What Dr Mike does so well is to use the science of healthcare, apply it to a disease or particular health issue, and make it understandable for everyone. He uses simple animation together with healthy doses of humour and empathy with great success. See for yourself below…
I’ve been a big fan of Doc Mike’s work for a while as he shares important health messages simply on platforms like Youtube where conversations are already happening.
At APAC Forum, I presented on ‘Building change through effective communications’ with Andrew Cooper from 1000 Lives Plus. We proposed a communications bundle for healthcare staff to use when undertaking improvement, whether a small change on a ward or clinic, to larger change across health services. Similar to a care bundle, the communications bundle has 5 key points which when followed, will help you tell people about your work.
We showed that there was no right or wrong way to communications but there are basics to follow to help you share your news more effectively.
While sharing doesn’t come naturally to everyone, we had over 200 people at the workshop. For me, this shows me that healthcare staff want to be sharing and talking about their work but perhaps are not sure how to do it.
“It was the highlight of the forum of me. Through the simple act of sharing with a room of 200 of her peers, a potential solution to a problem was solved.”
During the conference I met Jan, a midwife who runs Ch.a.t, a service in New Zealand for new mothers who have unanswered questions following the birth of their baby. Jan also came to my workshop and shared with audience that while her service was doing well, it was struggling to reach Maori mothers where she thought there was still a need. She was unsure how she was going to do this and it was a problem she was keen to fix using better communications.
A few minutes after the workshop ended, Jan made a beeline for me. Following her sharing her problem she’d had 3 people approach her, 2 to help her connect with Maori communities and another who was interested in setting-up a similar service in her area. She was delighted with the response.
It was the highlight of the forum of me. Through the simple act of sharing with a room of 200 of her peers, a potential solution to a problem was solved. Someone shared a problem and people who thought they could help responded.
If we could all find a space to share, empathise and help where we can, then we’ll be able to change our conversations and improve the health of our populations.
APAC 2014 is coming to Melbourne 1-3 September 2014. Mark this date in your calendar today.