A view from RLDatix Medical Director, International
After two years of connecting remotely, the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare took place in person in Gothenburg in June. Our Medical Director, Dr Darren Kilroy gives his reflections on the event where he presented his session on ‘Rethinking Governance, Risk and Compliance in the context workforce pressures and the care backlog’.
Changing the shape of governance, risk and assurance
There are few places I’d rather be in the early summer than the friendly, cosmopolitan city of Gothenburg and it seemed that over 2000 others felt the same way as we assembled in such numbers for this year’s International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare. The large number was hardly surprising; this was the first in-person conference of its type for some time and if our lived experience of the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the need for a focused, inclusive dialogue about safety in patient care is key to our future health worldwide.
Of the seven key topics which the forum addressed – ranging from the imperative of integrated care models through to the unprecedented operational need to grip and control post-pandemic backlogs in care - the roles of quality improvement, appreciative inquiry and the application of innovative thinking into practice – were recognised by the Forum as the non-negotiable building blocks of a different and better tomorrow. We were pleased, therefore, to make an engaging and lively contribution to the debate alongside our colleagues from the Good Governance Institute as we considered the changing shape of governance, risk and assurance in the post-pandemic world.
Thanks to all the delegates who attended and made such brilliant contributions to our seminar on #governance and #risk and #safety @TheIHI @QualityForum this afternoon @GoodGovernInst @RLDatix @AllocateS - a rewarding & stimulating session #qualitylife2022 👍— Darren Kilroy (@DrDKilroy) June 21, 2022
Managing risk across a complex workforce system
It was refreshing and energising to see so many colleagues from across Europe joining us to discuss the opportunities that have emerged from Covid in the risk and governance space. Based upon a description of the necessity for swift and radical change to the traditional architecture of governance in the depths of a huge viral surge, a case for change emerged of a simpler, professionalism-heavy, bureaucracy-light approach to the management of risk across a complex workforce system. The metrics of success for such an approach in terms of patient-level outcomes and staff satisfaction provided the necessary evidence of this having been not only the right thing to do, but the safer thing to do at a time of unparalleled psychological stress within the healthcare community.
What emerged from the conversations we had in Gothenburg was the commonality of everything. This is always, to me, key to sustainable changes in strategy - problems shared are, they say, problems halved; solutions that emerge through sharing are, in turn, those that redouble in strength, support and hence impact. We are talking here about the fundamentals of patient safety and the culture change required, even now, in so many international territories to truly reposition safety culture as the key determinant of all else in healthcare. That commonality, played out through those raised hands in the audience keen to share their own experiences of managing governance through a crisis, the recognition of a need to properly empower skilled staff in the ownership and management of risk and a willingness to speak truth to traditional power in the arena of safer care, gives us hope and encouragement that we may now be on a very different path to quality improvement in healthcare.
Harnessing the power of workforce, incident, operational and outcome data
Innovative thinking around governance, risk and assurance should not be confused with an avoidance or disregard for high-quality data administered through high-quality technology. Quite the opposite: if our shared proposition is to reimagine traditional assurance as a professional reassurance, to reduce bureaucracy but increase efficiency and to replace wordy exception reports with succinct and impactful shared learning resources, then we need to harness the power of workforce, incident, operational and outcome data in ways that we have, to date, only imagined or speculated about. That data is there and is in our hands. At RLDatix we are excited and intrigued by the possibilities this presents in the determination of those new ways of working that we all agree – across traditional organisational boundaries, across even countries – are essential to making patient care safe now and in the future. We are working on this right now. Shaping the best ways to enable the data to tell the right stories. Working with clinicians, managers and customers. We invite you to share this journey with us; back to our commonality of purpose, of lived experience, of that overwhelming desire to finally make those changes that we all dreamt of.
Now is the time for us to finally realise our ambitions – making patient care safer, together.
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About the Author
Dr Darren Kilroy
Medical Director, International, RLDatix
Dr Darren Kilroy: @DrDKilroy
Darren trained in emergency medicine in the north west of England as well as Australia and, following an initial subspecialty interest in medical education, worked in several leadership roles in Greater Manchester alongside his consultant post.
He holds a Masters in Healthcare Business Administration from Keele Business School and his PhD thesis examined the sociological aspects of medical training in the UK. He also sits on NHS Employers’ Medical Workforce Forum and advises NHS Improvement in relation to bank and agency pay in healthcare.
Connect with Darren: LinkedIn | Twitter
Recommended reading: Stop thinking of health as a cost and start thinking of it as a value
Darren offers his reflections on the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare, which took place in Sydney in July.