Collaborating to build back better

In May we held our first in person Collaborative Learning Event for three years due to pandemic restrictions. Researchers, healthcare professionals, partners, stakeholders, patients, and members of the public met for an interactive and engaging event that looked to explore the theme of ‘Building Back Better’. Attendees were asked to consider how they can work differently to support the health and social care sectors as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kandy Sisya, Education and Research Officer, Collaborative Learning and Capacity Building Theme, was instrumental in organising the event and shared her reflections:

“We are very pleased that we were able to hold our first in-person event since our launch in 2019! This was a great opportunity for our colleagues and partners to come together, share experiences and learn from each other about how we can support the sector to build back better. We are excited to come together again in October for our next Collaborative Learning Event.”

The event explored three key questions:

Reflecting on lessons from the pandemic

The packed programme was kicked off by a keynote speech from Dr Mateen Jiwani. He asked the audience to look back over the past few years and think about healthcare within the context of the digital revolution. He reflected on how clinicians, researchers, patients and the public adapted to change very quickly and asked how we can use the lessons from the experience to ensure we are better prepared for future challenges. As he put it:

“One of the difficult things about being prepared for disaster is you never really get prepared for disaster.”

He commented after the event: “Presenting to a highly accomplished and driving force of academia is a privilege and also a personal achievement. Today, the most senior academics and the driving force of innovators and technologists need to really push to understand and shorten the translation gap for patient safety and clinical adoption of technology into mainstream healthcare. The challenge is not just uphill but multidirectional. Its important we start to change the very face of evidence and supplement the innovators with a new foundation with the appropriate rigour we have been used to applying for therapeutics and other areas of healthcare solutions.”

Examining the impact of these rapid changes and the move to ‘drop in’ and virtual consultations gave Mateen the perfect opportunity to set the scene for the following sessions. By describing his story of responding to the daily challenges presented by COVID-19 on the ground, to how his experience of managing digital transformation in a large system can help us all to learn lessons and be better prepared.

Getting to grips with our research themes

In interactive breakout sessions attendees got to hear from and engage with members of each of the research and cross cutting themes. The focus was on the work each theme was doing to ‘Build back better’ and through delivering high quality health and social care research designed to improve population health.

The sessions included:

New ways of thinking and working

In a hands-on session Dr Laura Lennox, Improvement Science and Health Improvement Lead and Dr Rowan Myron, Education Lead, invited us into the 'Learning Lab' to consider how to use emotional process mapping to build capacity to work differently. The process is used to understand the experiences of people using a system. They asked us to consider what it feels like to be part of a system and used real world scenarios to map the processes involved, be it gaining consent from a patient to participate in a research study to booking a routine medical appointment. 

The approach gives users the tools to think about the way they work in new and illuminating ways that can highlight how different perspectives can positively change how we use tools day to day. This approach is often used in our Improvement Leader Fellowship as a way to engage people in health and care research to improve how they work.

Fellowship Graduation

The day ended with a highlight as our 2021 - 2022 cohort of Improvement Leader Fellows graduated to warm applause. The Fellows had all undertaken an intensive 12 month programme designed to develop future leaders in innovation and improvement with the authority and ability to advance change in their organisations and beyond.  

Despite the impact of COVID-19 resulting in the course being delivered virtually, the Fellows all contributed to the day with poster displays showcasing their project work, joining on stage panels to discuss key themes from the day and networking with attendees to tell them more about their work.

Rowan Myron, ARC NWL Education Lead, said:

"Being in person again was such a rich experience, seeing old friends and meeting new. It was so rewarding to see our fellows showcasing their amazing work, done through such challenging times. They told me they have all learned valuable lessons on the programme, even if they didn’t get where they expected to, they have made some incredible changes happen in their services. The team at ARC NWL are so proud.”

Involved themes

This event involved all our research and cross-cutting themes and was organised and led by our Collaborative Learning & Capacity Building Theme.

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To see more watch Mateen's full presentation: ‘Health care and the digital revolution: Challenging that translational gap - Learning from the pandemic experience’.