Brokering the first public sector machine led learning solution to increase team engagement in the NHS

Victoria Corbishley, Director of Transformation, Eastern AHSN

By Victoria Corbishley, Director of Transformation, Eastern AHSN

Working in transformation, I am always on the lookout for innovative solutions that help health and care providers address the critical challenges facing teams and the system as a whole.

One such critical challenge is building a high performing team. Strong team working has been shown to reduce medical errors and lower the level of issues that lead to burnout . Working together across the professions can deliver high quality care, encourage innovation, contentment and lead to better problem solving.

For me, any talk of team building also brings back memories of superficial activities, forcing people together in awkward scenarios usually involving building models and / or blindfolds.  Participants can be seen silently wishing for an early ending to return to their ever-growing to-do list.

We wondered if there was any way technology could help support team engagement using more modern techniques, that fit with our more hectic lifestyles.

Can AI and machine led learning help develop great teams?

At the Eastern AHSN we help the NHS identify and test innovations that offer truly ground-breaking solutions. Innovations that use machine led learning and artificial intelligence to speed up analysis and diagnosis have been growing in number and impact, so feature a lot on our radar.

Hearing Simon Stevens pledge to invest more in AI and machine led learning at last week’s Health and Care Innovation Expo Conference was a timely reminder of our work brokering an NHS first collaboration between CoachBot and Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

CoachBot, which launches this week, is an AI coach designed to help teams identify challenges they face and suggest how best to improve.  Like a human coach, CoachBot is designed for members of the team rather than HR staff.

The AI element operates in the form of a chatbot-style conversation to unearth what’s going on in a team by asking its members simple questions about team goals, communication styles and dynamics.  It analyses and collates the information into a bespoke report for the team to show areas the team would benefit focussing on with recommended toolkits, bite size learning or even a human coach if required.  You and your teammates are placed firmly in control of the development work you identify, delivered at a time that suits you.

Connecting innovators to the NHS

The project brings together Saberr, the team analytics company that developed CoachBot and Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, a trust reviewing how they could best support their teams to be more agile and deliver better care for patients.

The 12-month pilot will measure CoachBot’s impact on the performance and engagement of four teams.  We will also be tracking what impact this has on the most important measure – health outcomes. Lessons from the work will be shared widely and if successful, the hope is that the network of AHSNs and Innovation Exchanges, working with their local geographies, can support adoption in other parts of the country.

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