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Webinar Summaries and recordings
Welcome to the first of our three-part webinar series, in which we speak with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center about their experience of EasySPC and how SPC automation can lay the foundations for quality improvement in a healthcare setting.
Watch the webinar in full below.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s vision is to be the leader in improving child health, providing the best outcomes, experience and value, today and in the future. BCN Healthcare, a digital transformation specialist, supports healthcare organisations with their data and reporting needs and has worked with Cincinnati Children’s for a year, assisting with their EasySPC journey. Keen to show other healthcare customers what great looks like when it comes to quality improvement, we’ve invited the team, plus Tom Nicholas from East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), to explain how they’re using control charts to support their QI initiatives.
To start, Tom provides an overview of quality improvement at ELFT, which operates on the fundamental principle that all parts of the organisation should have sight and understanding of data, trends and variants to plan healthcare improvements. EasySPC enables masses of SPC chart data to be shared in a meaningful way, achieving QI buy-in across the board. With >100 measures represented at SPC, he estimates EasySPC creates over 100,000 charts every single day, which not Excel, nor the most talented analysts could generate – an incredibly helpful tool for getting performance information to a wide population.
On a mission to improve child health and transform the delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognised research, education and innovation, Cincinnati Children’s team knows that data tells the story, but that it also raises many important questions, which is where they develop measures and is what drives their need for the use of SPC.
This produces a wealth of data, but it comes from all different sources, is held in different places and looks different. “As much as QI is ingrained in our culture and people want and use this data, it’s not always the easiest to get it to them,” Blair says. Using a homegrown tool to standardise views and share charts helped, despite being duct-taped and Band-Aided together since 2012. However, it lacked flexibility, customisation and was difficult to annotate.
As part of a digital transformation, the team sought a solution which would better support their needs and remove maintenance of the old system. Meeting BCN at IHI proved serendipitous. Demonstrating EasySPC – the slick interface, tech stack integration and adherence with charting standards – the BCN team “talked the same language that we did.”
A presentation by Tom Nicholas about ELFT’s success with EasySPC sealed the deal. Over the past year, Cincinnati Children’s has enjoyed working with the BCN team and starting their EasySPC journey. More importantly, they have found great value in it already. The next webinar will reveal more about why they’re excited to continue on the journey with this tool.
At Cincinnati Children’s, there is now a consensus that control charts are really a huge part of “how we do improvement” and many leaders go through the full training course. Whilst going through their operational excellence strategic planning process for the next five years, Mary Ann noticed it was “the first time that we’ve seen our Quality folks really at the table as part of that goal setting process. And it is an expectation that we will all be setting goals and using measurement and SPC and improvement methods to reach those aims.”
For Sherry, a key indicator that QI is really ingrained in the culture is when in meetings, trained leaders will comment on data that isn’t presented in the right way, questioning an absence of control limits, for example, and putting people on the spot. The message has really spread.
We recently held the second of our three-part webinar series which explores the deployment of EasySPC at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as a means of improving performance quality through the use of shareable, visual statistical process charts. It’s a journey BCN has supported for the past 12 months.
This session looks at the implementation process and how the Cincinnati Children’s team customised the tool to meet their needs and achieve the best possible outcomes for children.
Make no mistake, Cincinnati Children’s and the Anderson Center were extremely far into their QI journey; many progressive resources and methodologies were already being used by teams across the entire organisation. The issue was that each team operated separately, so there was little insight into what was happening collectively across the system, a situation known as a ‘black box’. Some updates required manual intervention and data display was increasingly inconsistent.
“The important evaluation of SPC charts is really to know: ‘Is your process doing right?’ And if you’re not visualising them accordingly, how do you answer that question?” Sherry says. “How can you tell if the change is an improvement? We wanted to help.”
Power BI was identified as the preferred visualisation tool for CCHMC back in 2020. It enabled the teams to share reports at a pace only ever previously dreamt of, but setting up SPCs in this new tool was a daunting task, even for the incredibly talented team. Luckily, a colleague Sherry refers to as ‘Professor X’ introduced them to BCN and EasySPC (a Microsoft-certified Power BI custom visual that enables you to create SPCs), adoption of which was called a ‘no-brainer’. Sherry was delighted with the tool and how much easier the transformation was made for the team: “We were blown away, right away.”
In order to use and scale EasySPC effectively across the organisation, it required some customisation. The team deliberately decided to create SPCs which looked familiar, to avoid confusion when it was rolled out to everyone. Sherry acknowledges that there’s much more EasySPC can do, but at the moment, in this early stage, it’s “meeting us where we are right now.” There are plans to revisit once the system has been tested and developed a while longer. To date, it’s been shared among Cincinnati Children’s Power BI community and has received a very positive reaction.
For Blair, moving data into Power BI and using shareable templates means that the resulting visuals provide far more information and can answer more questions than previous Excel reports could ever give. “It just makes using the data so much easier,” she says.
Blair points out that EasySPC can be used in combination with other Power BI visualisations, and also link with the APIs already in use by Cincinnati Children’s, such as Denodo, Epic EHR and PeopleSoft, to create even greater insights into process performance. The option to pull data from a single source or link in, for example, .CSV files, offers insight into a massive range of measures. The ability to integrate EasySPC with existing hospital systems further promotes improvement in patient care, plus linking between different reports saves considerable time and effort for staff.
The webinar series with our friends from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center concludes with a discussion about how to sustain excellence in quality improvement through using EasySPC.
Watch the webinar recording below.
Mary Anne kicked off the final session by sharing Cincinnati Children’s plans for ‘managing better toward world class quality’, using their new digital platforms. This is fundamentally related to making it easier for staff across the entire system to learn, knowledge-share and adopt new innovation and change. It means removing the not-value-added tasks from talented individuals who could more productively use their time to get data to decision makers. It means adhering to data and visualisation standards, and holding themselves accountable for such standards. And it means ensuring the right people are managing and organising the data.
With access tools and enterprise licences for sharing, they’ve already seen a significant transformation in the work that they do and how they deliver quality excellence across the organisation, due in large part to the comprehensive training program they launched.
As a relatively new tool for Cincinnati Children’s, staff education on the Power platform was crucial. In order for this to go smoothly and not confuse people, the team chose Kotter’s 8-Step change model, which is great for large-scale change and is a model that they teach in their own classes. “We wanted to take our own medicine,” says Mary Anne.
To support the change, there was lots of communication and the formation of a steering committee, so that everyone felt a part of it and was less likely to resist it. The team used a range of resources, including online courses, instructor-led courses and a self-paced learning platform that included various books, videos and more courses.
A pre-launch satisfaction survey of existing systems revealed areas upon which the team needed to focus, presenting a great opportunity for improvement – such as UX and time tracking; things that can be worked into the new application. However, one of the biggest considerations, Sherry adds, was trying to make clear to staff that their efforts wouldn’t be wasted: “We want to make sure that all of our employees know that we are using this information and that leadership is looking at it and it is extremely valuable,” she says.
A second survey relating to change readiness gave encouraging results, with staff agreeing that change is necessary, they want to change the way they work and can learn new skills. All of this preparation showed the team that people are ready to move the change forward. With focus groups set up, the strategy taken to empower staff was to reiterate that it was the people – the users – that were driving the change, not leadership. Even the application’s name was put out to staff as a competition, promoting engagement, awareness and a sense of inclusivity.
One of the biggest lessons learned, Sherry says, is to confirm a commitment to the change. An incident with a new report which, while vetted by the team, ended up being sent out by others as an old PowerPoint slide deck, caused confusion. Where’s this new quality excellence report? “Ultimately, the lesson learned is: really confirm the commitment to the change that they’re not going to go back to using the same tools that they were using previously, post-launch.”
Another key learning point is to prepare to receive hundreds of new requests from enthusiastic staff. “People got really excited,” Sherry continues. “They were doing a phenomenal job, really learning the tool, and they were doing things with our data that we really have never done before. [But] the influx was pretty overwhelming.” Yet it is a great sign that the change was being positively received.
Mary Anne concluded the session with a list of best practices which encompassed training and adoption, defining an environment strategy, naming conventions, keeping ‘really good’ documentation and finally: “Make sure you’re doing a lot of testing – not only internally, but also with your end user. Make sure your end user can take a look at your applications as well as your reports and test it and then test it some more”.
Cincinnati Children’s journey has far from completed; it is just beginning. With the implementation of their new digital platforms, including EasySPC, and the commitment of their employees in sharing their data, it surely won’t be long before that wish for ‘managing better toward world class quality’ comes to fruition.
The EasySPC product roadmap is supported by ongoing investment and based on customer feedback. As such, over the next year, BCN will be introducing some major releases to deliver “at a glance” visibility of special cause variation for operational managers, plus an Early Warning System. Additionally, there will be innovations around control charts and SPC methodology to help give performance insights at multiple levels.
We really hope you’ve enjoyed and perhaps been inspired by this webinar series.
It was great to see that we had registrations from all over the world for this webinar series.