NHS North East and Yorkshire Leadership Academy

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The Why, What and How of building a healthcare learning system

06 January 2022


The Why, What and How of building a healthcare learning system. 

Why? Now more so than ever, healthcare is a complex, uncertain and hard to predict environment. At NEYLA, we believe learning and adapting are key strategies for dealing with uncertainty and rising to meet new challenges.  

What? Learning systems is a new approach to quality, improvement and transformation in public services that prioritises a continuous cycle of inclusive, people-focussed feedback and adjustment to successfully adapt in this challenging environment. Using a learning system approach from its inception, the London Nightingale was able to rapidly learn not only how to treat a new disease but also how to run a field hospital (Shand J, Allwood D, Lee N, et al Systematically capturing and acting on insights from front-line staff: the ‘Bedside Learning Coordinator’BMJ Quality & Safety 2021;30:509-512.). At the Nightingale, insights were gathered and triaged by ‘Bedside Learning Coordinators’ into three areas - ‘Fix’, ‘Improve’ and ‘Change’ – so that the appropriate action could be taken as quickly as possible. 

How? While we often hear about cultures of continuous improvement, what does this actually look like in practice? How might we start to make steps towards this as a normal way of working? Several hospital providers are now trying to apply a similar learning system approach outside of the covid response. We’re delighted to have colleagues from Chase Farm Hospital (part of Royal Free London NHS FT) join us on January 19th for a lunchtime webinar to talk about how they have taken this approach into practice. Here’s what they have to say: 

At Chase Farm Hospital, we’re testing a new approach to quality improvement. Our aim is to build a culture of continuous improvement, where staff feel able to influence changes that matter to them, and where we’re not afraid to say ‘yes, let’s test it out’. We’re doing this through: making improvement easy and accessible by embedding improvement into our daily work; through proactively looking for opportunities to improve our safety, patient and staff experience and effectiveness rather than reacting to issues; and visibly sharing learning and celebrating success. This learning system approach involves investing in people first, then processes. Come along to find out more! 

Visit our events section to book your place

Embedding a learning health system approach at Chase Farm Hospital 

Wed, 19 January 2022 

12:00 – 13:30