Four Eyes Insight helps NHS trusts improve operational productivity. In this second of two articles, the company explains what it can add to trusts’ own efforts to become more productive across their clinical services and how its support for their improvement has expanded to cover a range of hospital operations.
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“What can Four Eyes do for us that we can’t do for ourselves?” is a common and entirely legitimate question. It’s true that Four Eyes mostly uses a trust’s own data to identify improvement opportunities.
But the simple fact is that hard-pressed managers and clinicians often lack the time to analyse that data and rethink the way things work. Most of them also lack the benefit of having seen the same sort of challenges in many similar settings.
Four Eyes’ people can fill both those gaps. What they add is the time and experience to analyse and target opportunities; to coach and support trust teams in transforming performance; and to make sure teams are applying their new improvement skills to “business as usual” when Four Eyes leaves the building.
Whether Four Eyes is helping a trust to look for improvements in theatres or outpatients, cath labs, endoscopy or radiology, the starting point is always to collect, tidy-up and analyse the trust’s own data. This is rarely as straightforward as it sounds.
Four Eyes uses proprietary tools for the job as well as data from similar trusts for comparison. This initial process identifies where improvement opportunities lie.
Next comes the business of demonstrating to managers and clinicians that the opportunities are genuinely realisable. Experience has shown that sustained improvement will be elusive unless trust staff are fully engaged.
The objectivity of the data is one key to winning their commitment. Another is the fact that many of Four Eyes’ own consultants have “been there and done it” themselves, working in clinical roles or running significant operations in trusts up and down the country.
Experience has shown that sustained improvement will be elusive unless trust staff are fully engaged
And finally comes making it real. Four Eyes is not about writing reports or fancy presentations. It’s about making change happen on the ground. Its teams work shoulder-to-shoulder with clinical and operational staff to show them how to change things and drive improvement.
Sometimes, this is about bringing in the right tools, such as dashboards and job planning software, customised to the specific circumstances of each trust. Other times it’s just about bringing more system and discipline to the things people are already trying to do. And then the company has a few of its own recipes to help trusts along, like its rapid improvement methodology.
Increasingly, Four Eyes is extending its tools and approach to more hospital operations, linking improvements in different services to maximise a trust’s operational and financial potential. For example, improvements in outpatient pathways can ramp up radiology utilisation; improvements in theatre productivity can reduce the need for bank and agency staff.
Four Eyes is also concentrating on the challenges for trusts of sustaining improvements after the company has left. Offering training programmes to trust staff and providing periodic check-ups can help.
But Four Eyes is very aware of how difficult maintaining momentum can be, especially with sometimes high rates of churn among key staff. To address this, Four Eyes is developing software solutions embodying artificial intelligence that can reduce trusts’ dependence on individual knowledge and skills to sustain more productive processes. These solutions can also directly reduce administrative costs.
One example is the company’s soon-to-be-launched integrated theatres software solution. This adds a smart scheduling tool to their existing theatre performance dashboard.
Four Eyes is developing software solutions embodying artificial intelligence that can reduce trusts’ dependence on individual knowledge
The tool automatically collects data from a trust’s own systems, ensuring the data is up-to-date, and uses artificial intelligence to generate an optimised theatre schedule in line with best scheduling practice (known as “6-4-2”). Operational managers can then apply the schedule to drive better theatre utilisation.
None of this is rocket science. But there are few trusts today that aren’t leaving worthwhile opportunities on the table.
Four Eyes simply helps trusts seize those opportunities in ways that won’t mean staff working longer hours or longer shifts without a break, but will mean more care for more patients and a stronger bottom line.
For more information on how Four Eyes Insight works with trusts, please see their website.
Increasing productivity and maximising capacity is essential
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Using trusts' own data to identify improvement opportunities