Chief information and knowledge officer Nick Gaunt explains to Tracey Caldwell how the institute has taken steps to lessen an 'overengineered' approach
The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement has taken steps to simplify its approach to work, including producing guidelines for leaders on optimising the use of cloud technology, the chief information and knowledge officer Nick Gaunt told the healthcare network.
Nick Gaunt, NHS Institute chief information and knowledge officer, described the organisation's previous approach as 'overengineered'.
He explained: "In the past, to produce guidance on how to improve LEAN techniques within a ward, for example, we would work closely with three or four hospital wards to develop the guidance and then issue it widely.
"It has been common practice to use email and have multiple drafts going back and forwards and some poor soul in the Institute team trying to collate all of the feedback and keep track of all the versions of things.
"A number of teams have taken approaches using online project management where you can keep track of tasks and have discussion forums and so on. But this also wasn't an approach that fitted well with working with a number of disparate NHS colleagues. It was too heavyweight. We said let's look at a simpler way."
Gaunt and the institute looked toward a cloud-based solution that staff could access from anywhere and implemented SkyDox, as a result.
"The economic case was so overwhelming that there was no need to seek justification or approval from anyone else in the organisation", he said. "There wasn't any 'sell' needed other than to approach the teams who were already working online together and say do you want a simpler way of doing things?"
Since it switched to the cloud-based system in January, Gaunt is now seeing people collaborating more, "presumably because it is easier and quicker to get into the system" and partly because some previous collaboration via email for example, was unseen and uncaptured.
"There are so many different use cases for how to interact. What we are not trying to do is to force conversations that aren't around documents within the same system as the document sharing. We are finding our way with the cloud as a lot of people are so I am keen to get the most out of the right tool."
He acknowledges that lessons have been learned; that investment in technology is not always what is needed.
"[Simplification] is driven even more now by mobile apps and people's expectation that things can be simple and a realisation that the applications that work well are the ones that have been carefully designed with simplicity in mind, paring everything down to the essential elements and not overcomplicating things," he says.
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Jun 12 2012, 03:30 AM
Healthcare Network | guardian.co.uk