8 Nov 2018
It’s Go time! – How to ensure an effective theatre system implementation
October has seen Bluespier at its busiest yet with two full theatre system installs in as many weeks. With clinical system implementations of this size comes financial, operational and clinical implications, all of which need to be effectively managed by both Trust and Supplier to navigate a smooth and effective roll out.
We find NHS organisations are most successful with their theatre system implementations when they embrace four simple but key areas of a project.
Without question, the planning stages of any project are the foundations of success and should not be rushed. Take time to understand the requirements, the impact on stakeholders affected by the project – including patients – and what the measures of success will be.
It’s valuable to have open discussions with your suppliers at this stage, too. They will have a wealth of experience with theatre system installations and be able to share lessons learned from previous successes and challenges.
Once goals, objectives and risks are defined, a project plan can be crafted to take into account time deadlines, milestones, resourcing and budget. Delayed projects can have a big impact on staff and result in loss of momentum, motivation and budget challenges, so ensure timescales are realistic, evidenced and appropriately resourced.
No two Trusts work in exactly the same way and it’s important any installation supports this. The software configuration needs to be driven by the Trust and their requirements, with the support of the IT supplier.
Successful projects have detailed and clear process maps that visualise current processes and find improvements that have the greatest impact. This approach ensures the overall focus of the project remains centred around improving processes on the ground and ultimately, using the technology to make working lives easier for every member of staff.
After all, if the new way of working isn’t more efficient, more effective, safer and easier then why are we doing it?
Whilst a system roll out needs the dedicated skills of IT and project leads, clinical teams are also key to the success of any implementation and should be engaged early on. The most successful project teams we have worked with have a clinical lead on the board.
Clinicians can offer valuable insight into the overall project vision and understand front line challenges, actual patient impact and clinical risk. They also tend to be heavy system users, and so their support and buy in is absolute crucial to system take-up and ongoing implementation success.
To gain clinical buy in for the project, ensure clinicians understand the benefits, believe in the project objectives, agree with the success measures put in place and have direct input into process mapping. Ultimately, the success of any project derives from the people believing in the change and continuing to drive it long after the implementation support has gone home.
Review and refine
And remember, as much as a theatre system Go-Live should be seen as a significant milestone, it is rarely the case that it is the end of the journey. Communication between Trust departments, the project board and the supplier is key to iron out teething issues and continue to refine and improve systems and processes.
Reporting and analysis will help assess the true benefits realisation within theatres and across the organisation, and also steer continuing change and improvements as confidence with the new system grows.
Theatre utilisation benefits tend to be seen almost immediately, but some of the biggest benefits appear after a few months, so ensure the success measures are continually measured and monitored post Go Live and shared as much as possible with staff to further cement clinical adoption.