Appreciating People has been using AI in our work on Quality Improvement (QI) with North West Ambulance Service (NWAS)Appreciative Inquiry has become an integral part of their Quality Improvement (QI) programme and, so far, we’ve trained over 100 of their Quality Improvement (QI) Change Agents. 

Their approach to QI is summed up in the image below, combining past experience with present and future effectiveness and safety to make sure they’re an organisation that is both reliable and always learning. That’s how they keep the people and communities they serve at the heart of their drive for quality.

Quality Improvement system - NWAS

Michelle Sutherland oversees the dispatch of urgent care vehicles and manages performance, with a focus on arrival times and other performance measures and thrives in this environment. She’s based in NWAS’s Liverpool control room. She says:

Appreciative Inquiry was a highlight for me. It opened my eyes to realise that doing more of what is already working, rather than focusing on fixing problems, is liberating. It also enabled me to realise that through the language we use, the questions we ask and the stories we tell collectively shape our own future direction of travel. I left that day feeling empowered and an overwhelming sense of positivity about myself and my ability.

Her colleague Emma Gillespie, is a specialist paramedic, working on the Urgent Care Desk at the Trust’s Cheshire and Merseyside Regional Headquarters in Liverpool. Emma handles non life-threatening 999 calls, sent by control, sourcing the most suitable and efficient resource for patients so that they get the best care possible.

‘My favourite parts were the half day on resilience and all the creative elements. It really helped to change the way we thought about everyday things. I think it’s great that the Programme involved staff across the trust; different people share the same inherent change and can be positive. For me it’s about a structured approach of how to achieve something, how to identify gaps and how to overcome barriers. I really liked learning how to ‘nail’ a Lift Speech – just 30 seconds to share your thoughts – it really makes you prioritise and focus on what you really want!’

Click here to download NWAS’s own QI change agents case study here.

NWAS have been inspired by the Learning from Excellence programme we run, and this information is shared with their QI agents. The Model for Improvement they use was developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and includes thinking about what they are trying to accomplish, how they recognise improvement, and what changes will create improvement. You can see the model in the diagram on the right. 

Quality Improvement - NWAS Model for Improvement

Learning from Excellence is a project we’ve done with a number of clients, including AQuA in 2015. They invited us to facilitate some training on Safety and AI, to introduce staff to key elements in the Charles Vincent Safety Framework. The 30 staff who attended got a lot out of it and set us all off on a journey of exploring more how AI can support safety. We’ve extended this work to consider how AI is an extremely appropriate philosophy to explore Safety II and how it supplements traditional Safety I practices. 

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